Medical Definition of Pons

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Pons: A specific section of the brain formed by the rounded prominence on the front surface of the brainstem. (The brainstem is the lowest part of the brain that merges with the spinal cord; it consists of a structure called the medulla oblongata, the midbrain and the pons.) Cranial nerves V, VI, VII and VIII take origin at the border of the pons.

Pons is Latin for bridge. It is short for the pons Varolii, the bridge of Varoli, named for a 16th-century Italian surgeon and anatomist Costanzo Varoli. The pons bridges that portion of the central nervous system between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain.

The adjective for pons is pontine. Transpontine means across the bridge. In London, transpontine refers to one side of the River Thames, the south side, where the theaters playing popular melodramas were located in Victorian days. Cross a bridge over the Thames and you were in the more respectable cispontine sector of London.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

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