Brain Stem: Gross Anatomy

  • Stanley Jacobson
  • Elliott M. Marcus
  • Stanley Pugsley


The brain stem is located in the posterior cranial fossa and consists of medulla, pons, and midbrain. We have included the diencephalon in this discussion on the brain stem as the majority of pathways from the brain stem and spinal cord terminate on nuclei in the diencephalon.

The gray and white matter in each level is intermixed and demonstrates a columnar organization. The discussion of each level will include the important functions, nuclei, and tracts found in that level. The constituent parts of the central nervous system are the spinal cord, brain stem, cerebellum, diencephalon, and cerebrum. The cerebellum is attached to the pons and medulla but will be discussed as part of the motor system in Chap. 11.


Tegmentum of medulla Pons Midbrain 12 cranial nerves IV Ventricle Tectum of inferior colliculus Superior colliculus 


  1. Ropper AH, Samuels MA, Klein JP. Adams and Victor’s principles of neurology. 10th ed. New York: McGraw Hill; 2016.Google Scholar
  2. Netter F. Atlas of human anatomy. 5th ed. Teterboro, NJ: Icon Learning Systems; 2015.Google Scholar
  3. Marcus EM, Jacobson S, Sabin T. Integrated neuroscience. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2014.Google Scholar
  4. Per Brodal A. The central nervous system. 5th ed. London: Oxford Blackwell; 2016.Google Scholar
  5. Riley HA. Brain stem and spinal cord. New York: Hafner; 1960.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stanley Jacobson
    • 1
  • Elliott M. Marcus
    • 2
  • Stanley Pugsley
    • 3
  1. 1.BostonUSA
  2. 2.Jamaica PlainUSA
  3. 3.South Abington Twp.USA

Personalised recommendations