The right and left lateral ventricles are structures within the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid. Along with the structures known as the third ventricle and the fourth ventricle, they are part of the body's ventricular system. The ventricular system acts as a continuation of the central canal of the spinal cord, a similar structure that contains cerebrospinal fluid and which runs the length of the neck and torso. The separate components of the ventricular system are connected through small holes known as foramina. The lateral and third ventricles connect through the right and left interventricular foramina, while the third and fourth ventricles connect through a foramen known as the cerebral aqueduct. Other foramina that connect to specific ventricles exist, but are not considered part of the ventricular system. The lateral ventricles and similar structures within the brain can be measured through a CT scan. The scan allows doctors to measure not only the size of the ventricles but also the density of the cerebrospinal fluid that they contain. This information can be used to diagnose potential problems in both the brain and the spine.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Lateral ventricles