High resolution 3D magnetic resonance imaging of Gruber’s ligament: a pilot study

Marinos Kontzialis*, A. Karim Ahmed, Gary L. Gallia, Pavlos Texalidis, Nafi Aygun, Ari M. Blitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: Gruber’s ligament (GL), a surgical landmark, extends from the lateral upper clivus to the petrous apex (PA), forming the superior boundary of Dorello’s canal (DC). It overlies the interdural segment of the abducens nerve (CN VI). High-resolution 3D skull base MRI (SB-MRI) demonstrates anatomic details visible to the surgeon, but not well seen on traditional cross-sectional imaging. The aim of this study was to demonstrate visualization of the GL and its relationship to CN VI utilizing contrast enhanced high-resolution SB-MRI. Methods: Two neuroradiologists retrospectively reviewed in consensus the SB-MRIs of 27 skull base sides, among 14 patients. GL detection rate, confidence of detection, and GL length were recorded. When GL was successfully identified, the position of the interdural segment of CN VI within DC was recorded. Results: GL was readily identified in 16 skull base sides (59%), identified with some difficulty in 2 skull base sides (7%), and failed to be identified in 9 skull base sides (33%). The mean GL length was 7.1 mm (4.5–9.3 mm). Among the 18 cases where GL was successfully identified, CN VI was readily identified in all cases (100%), coursing the lateral third of DC in 72% of sides, and middle third in the remaining 28% of sides. Conclusion: GL can be identified in approximately two-thirds of cases utilizing 3D high resolution SB-MRI. CN VI passes most commonly along the lateral third of DC. This is the first report demonstrating visualization of GL and its relation to CN VI, on imaging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1163
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical and Radiologic Anatomy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Abducens nerve
  • Dorello’s canal
  • Gruber’s ligament
  • High-resolution 3D MRI
  • Petrous apex
  • Skull base

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Surgery
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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