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Intracranial Veins
Stella Sin Yee Ho, RDMS, RVT, PhD; Deyond Y. W. Siu, MBChB, FRCR
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Terminology

  • Abbreviations

    • Superior sagittal sinus (SSS); sphenoparietal sinus (SPS); straight sinus (SS); transverse sinus (TS); cavernous sinus (CS); cerebral vein (CV)
  • Definitions

    • Dural venous sinuses
      • Venous channels which drain intracranial veins
      • Lie between two layers of dura mater
      • Postero-superior sinuses: SSS, inferior sagittal, two TS, SS and occipital
      • Antero-inferior sinuses: Two CS, two superior petrosal, two inter-CS, two inferior petrosal and basilar plexus
    • Intracranial veins: Cerebral and cerebellar veins
      • Valveless veins which pierce arachnoid membrane and meningeal layer of dura mater
      • Open into the cranial venous sinuses
      • External cerebral veins
        • Superior CV: 8-12 in number; mainly lodged in sulci between gyri; open into SSS
        • Middle CV: Runs along lateral cerebral fissure; ends in CS or SPS; connected with SSS by vein of Trolard or with TS by vein of LabbĂ©
        • Inferior CV: Small; join superior CVs and open into SSS or anastomose with middle CV and basal veins and empty into CS, SPS and superior petrosal sinuses
      • Internal cerebral veins (ICV)
        • Drain deep parts of the hemisphere and are in pair
        • Each formed near the interventricular foramen by the union of the terminal and choroid veins
        • Run parallel with each other posteriorly beneath splenium of the corpus callosum
        • Each receives corresponding basal vein of Rosenthal (BV) before uniting to form great vein of Galen (GV)
      • Basal vein of Rosenthal
        • Formed in lateral cerebral fissures (medial portion)
        • Courses posteriorly around mesencephalon
        • Receives anterior cerebral vein (ACV), deep middle cerebral vein (dMCV), inferior striate veins
        • Also receives tributaries from interpeduncular fossa, inferior horn of the lateral ventricle, hippocampal gyrus and mesencephalon
        • Each ends in its ICV which drains in the GV
        • Many variations: May drain in SPS, lateral mesencephalic vein, contralateral BV
      • Great vein of Galen
        • Receives ICVs, BV, pericallosal veins, and veins draining superior aspect of posterior fossa
        • Curves backward and upward around splenium of corpus callosum
        • Finally drains into SS
      • Cerebellar veins
        • Located on cerebellar surface: Superior and inferior
        • Superior cerebellar veins run anteromedially across the superior vermis to end in SS and ICVs
        • Inferior cerebellar veins (larger) end in TS, superior petrosal, and occipital sinuses

Imaging Anatomy

  • Overview

    Anatomy Imaging Issues

    • Imaging Recommendations

      Clinical Implications

      • Clinical Importance

        Related Anatomy
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        Related Differential Diagnoses
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        References
        Tables

        Tables

        Terminology

        • Abbreviations

          • Superior sagittal sinus (SSS); sphenoparietal sinus (SPS); straight sinus (SS); transverse sinus (TS); cavernous sinus (CS); cerebral vein (CV)
        • Definitions

          • Dural venous sinuses
            • Venous channels which drain intracranial veins
            • Lie between two layers of dura mater
            • Postero-superior sinuses: SSS, inferior sagittal, two TS, SS and occipital
            • Antero-inferior sinuses: Two CS, two superior petrosal, two inter-CS, two inferior petrosal and basilar plexus
          • Intracranial veins: Cerebral and cerebellar veins
            • Valveless veins which pierce arachnoid membrane and meningeal layer of dura mater
            • Open into the cranial venous sinuses
            • External cerebral veins
              • Superior CV: 8-12 in number; mainly lodged in sulci between gyri; open into SSS
              • Middle CV: Runs along lateral cerebral fissure; ends in CS or SPS; connected with SSS by vein of Trolard or with TS by vein of LabbĂ©
              • Inferior CV: Small; join superior CVs and open into SSS or anastomose with middle CV and basal veins and empty into CS, SPS and superior petrosal sinuses
            • Internal cerebral veins (ICV)
              • Drain deep parts of the hemisphere and are in pair
              • Each formed near the interventricular foramen by the union of the terminal and choroid veins
              • Run parallel with each other posteriorly beneath splenium of the corpus callosum
              • Each receives corresponding basal vein of Rosenthal (BV) before uniting to form great vein of Galen (GV)
            • Basal vein of Rosenthal
              • Formed in lateral cerebral fissures (medial portion)
              • Courses posteriorly around mesencephalon
              • Receives anterior cerebral vein (ACV), deep middle cerebral vein (dMCV), inferior striate veins
              • Also receives tributaries from interpeduncular fossa, inferior horn of the lateral ventricle, hippocampal gyrus and mesencephalon
              • Each ends in its ICV which drains in the GV
              • Many variations: May drain in SPS, lateral mesencephalic vein, contralateral BV
            • Great vein of Galen
              • Receives ICVs, BV, pericallosal veins, and veins draining superior aspect of posterior fossa
              • Curves backward and upward around splenium of corpus callosum
              • Finally drains into SS
            • Cerebellar veins
              • Located on cerebellar surface: Superior and inferior
              • Superior cerebellar veins run anteromedially across the superior vermis to end in SS and ICVs
              • Inferior cerebellar veins (larger) end in TS, superior petrosal, and occipital sinuses

        Imaging Anatomy

        • Overview

          Anatomy Imaging Issues

          • Imaging Recommendations

            Clinical Implications

            • Clinical Importance