The anterior inferior cerebellar artery is located in the cerebellum of the brain. The cerebellum is just above the brainstem and controls coordination of movement and balance, among other important functions. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery originates at the basilar artery of the brainstem.
The artery branches into three vessels: the internal auditory branch, medial branch, and lateral branch. The anterior inferior cerebellar artery is one of three arteries that provide oxygenated blood to the cerebellum. The other arteries supplying the cerebellum are the superior cerebellar artery and the posterior inferior cerebellar artery.
Regions served by the anterior inferior cerebellar artery include the internal acoustic meatus (an opening in the temporal bone that is part of the inner ear) and the biventral lobule, superior semilunar lobule, and inferior semilunar lobule, which are all parts of the cerebellum.
If the anterior inferior cerebellar artery becomes blocked, a stroke can occur. Symptoms of damage that occur as a result of a blockage to this artery include vertigo (a sensation of spinning), nausea, hearing loss, falling to one side, facial paralysis, and numbness in portions of the face. In rare cases, an aneurysm can occur in the anterior inferior cerebellar artery. An aneurysm is a ballooning of the blood vessel, and can be fatal if it ruptures.