Definition of Subarachnoid

Subarachnoid: Literally, beneath the arachnoid, the middle of three membranes that cover the central nervous system. In practice, subarachnoid usually refers to the space between the arachnoid and the pia mater, the innermost membrane surrounding the central nervous system.

The subarachnoid space is a potential space. It normally contains cerebrospinal fluid. A subarachnoid hemorrhage is a bleed into this space.

The arachnoid is named for its delicate, spider-web-like filaments that extend from its undersurface through the cerebrospinal fluid in the subarachnoid space to the pia mater. "Arachnoid" comes from the Greek "arachne" meaning spider or cobweb + "eidos" meaning resemblance = spider-web-like.


Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

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