Gross Anatomy of the Human Insula

  • Igor Lima Maldonado
  • Ilyess Zemmoura
  • Christophe Destrieux


When the lips of the lateral fissure are separated from each other, a new group of sulci and gyri appear. They are arrayed together in the form of an island, which is the reason why the German anatomist, Johann Christian Reil, named them “the insular lobe”. Bordered by the limiting sulci, its general form resembles that of an oblique pyramid with a triangular base and low height. Although some anatomical variation exists, the insula presents a systematizable internal organization and well-defined anatomical relationships with deep and superficial cerebral structures, such as the extreme capsule and the cerebral opercula. In this chapter we review concepts of the insular morphology that are important to the fields of neurosurgery and neuroimaging.


Insula Anatomy Cerebrum Cerebral cortex 


  1. 1.
    Reil J. Die Sylvische Grube. Arch Phys Ther. 1809;9:195–208.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Monro A (1783) Observations on the structure and functions of the nervous system. EdinburghGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Vicq d’Azyr F. Traité d’Anatomie et de physiologie. Paris; 1786.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ture U, Yasargil DC, Al-Mefty O, Yasargil MG. Topographic anatomy of the insular region. J Neurosurg. 1999;90(4):720–33.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Ribas GC. The cerebral sulci and gyri. Neurosurg Focus. 2010;28(2):E2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Excerpta Medica Foundation. Nomina anatomica. 4th ed. Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica; 1975.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Guenot M, Isnard J, Sindou M (2004) Surgical anatomy of the insula. Adv Tech Stand Neurosurg 29:265–288Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Rhoton AL Jr. The cerebrum. Neurosurgery. 2002;51(4 Suppl):S1–51.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Ribas GC, Oliveira E. The insula and the central core concept. Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 2007;65(1):92–100. doi:S0004-282X2007000100020 [pii]CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Testut L (1899) Traité d'anatomie humaine. Tome deuxième—angéiologie, système nerveux central. Octave Doin, ParisGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Tanriover N, Rhoton AL Jr, Kawashima M, Ulm AJ, Yasuda A. Microsurgical anatomy of the insula and the Sylvian fissure. J Neurosurg. 2004;100(5):891–922. Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ludwig E, Klingler J. Atlas cerebri humani. Basel: S. Karger A.G; 1956.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Fernandez-Miranda JC, Rhoton AL Jr, Alvarez-Linera J, Kakizawa Y, Choi C, de Oliveira EP. Three-dimensional microsurgical and tractographic anatomy of the white matter of the human brain. Neurosurgery. 2008;62(6 Suppl 3):SHC989–1026. discussion SHC1026-1028Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fernandez-Miranda JC, Rhoton AL Jr, Kakizawa Y, Choi C, Alvarez-Linera J. The claustrum and its projection system in the human brain: a microsurgical and tractographic anatomical study. J Neurosurg. 2008;108(4):764–74.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Igor Lima Maldonado
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Ilyess Zemmoura
    • 5
    • 3
  • Christophe Destrieux
    • 5
    • 3
  1. 1.Departamento de BiomorfologiaInstituto de Ciências da Saúde, Universidade Federal da BahiaSalvadorBrazil
  2. 2.Serviço de NeurocirurgiaUnidade Neuro-Músculo-Esquelética, C.H.U. Prof. Edgard SantosSalvadorBrazil
  3. 3.UMR 1253, iBrain, Université de Tours, InsermToursFrance
  4. 4.LE STUDIUM Loire Valley Institute for Advanced StudiesOrléansFrance
  5. 5.CHRU de Tours, Service de NeurochirurgieToursFrance

Personalised recommendations