A sulcus is a fold or deep groove, which separates the convolutions or gyri on surfaces of brain. The central sulcus named after Luigi Rolando is the part of brain, which stretches from the cerebral longitudinal fissures to the area close to lateral sulcus of the Sylvia’s fissure in a perpendicular way. Central sulcus is at time confused with medial longitudinal fissure. The central sulcus is a profound landmark of brain and it separates the parietal lobe from the front lobe, as well as the primary motor cortex from primary somatosensory cortex.
In the embryo, central sulcus develops around the 5 and 6 months of the life of fetus and it grows up towards the superior margin of cerebral hemisphere. By the 8th month, it has acquired a definitive growth. This central sulcus is usually a continuous sulcus. The space that is found in the superior end of this central sulcus is known as crochet Rolandique, or also referred to as crochet de Rolando.
The cerebral cortex has convoluted medial and lateral surfaces. The convolutions increase the surface area of brain thereby increasing the number of neurons or cells that are present. In the cerebral cortex, the deep furrows are known as fissures while the shallow ones are referred to as sulci or sulcus. It is those ridges between the sulcus that are referred to as gyri or the gyrus.
The major fissures and gyri divide the brain into four lobes. In the mid-region of lateral cortex is a vertical elongated groove that is called the central sulcus. And in the anterior of the central sulcus, you find the frontal lobe, while in the posterior, you find the parietal lobe.
A human nervous system consists of the lobes of cerebral cortex, and they are four of them, which include the frontal, parietal, temporal, and occipital. Each of these lobes is distinguished by the two major sulci or sulcus that are located on lateral or side of surface of each of the hemisphere.
Location of the central sulcus
To a layman, it would appear that the fissures and grooves, which one sees in brain, all have one name. However, there is advanced neuroanatomy, which tries to show the different names and functions of each of these grooves and fissures. The brain appears complex and for sure, it is. It is too complex for a layman to understand and at times, even for the professionals like physicians— who may have problems identifying which part is which.
It may require a specialized study and practical exposure in order to understand in depth how the different parts of the grooves and fissures of the brain function. Once you get to understand the clues, it becomes quite easier to identify the names of each of these neuroanatomical parts.
To be specific, the location of the central sulcus is on the middle area on a side of the cerebral hemisphere, near the front of the ascending cingulate.
Examination of central sulcus
The central sulcus is not filled with tissue but fluid. When examined in MRI or magnetic resonance imaging, it looks dark and bright depending on content of cerebrospinal fluid. One reason why magnetic resonance imaging is preferred in neurological examinations is because it is capable of providing multiple images that can offer detailed information for radiologists to analyze and see if there could be something wrong with function, structure, and vasculature of brain.
Central Sulcus – Function
The central sulcus serves as an important landmark, which helps in the identification of other parts of cerebral cortex. Central sulcus separates frontal lobe from the parietal lobe, and it divides the sensory and the motor areas of brain. In neurosurgery, the identification of central sulcus becomes an important thing— because it serves as a guide, which helps determine the cortical areas of brain.
When neurosurgeons are removing lesions, which are associated with somatosensory cortex, they would need to have a better understanding of the brain parts especially the central sulcus. The identification of this part of brain is also important for the neurosurgeons since it helps in providing the relevant anatomical structure, which helps avoid functional deficits especially in patients who have had an epilepsy surgery.
A patient who has had an epilepsy surgery may be at risk of experiencing problems of the memory, intellectual, or motor and personality if a neurosurgeon is not able to identify the central sulcus in a clear and precise way. This may result to disturbances in the frontal lobe.
Researchers hold that the shape of central sulcus takes a similar pattern to the dominant hand of a person. That’s, the dominant hand usually has a cortical area, which is larger than the non-dominant hand. Researchers have found that the right and left hemispheres of brain experience non-symmetrical features, which are as a result of life long process, which entail age, gender, handedness, usage, and other factors— all of which contribute to the depth of the central sulcus.