Intracranial connections of the vertebral venous plexus: Anatomical study with application to neurosurgical and endovascular procedures at the craniocervical junction

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: Descriptions of intracranial extensions of vertebral venous plexuses are lacking. OBJECTIVE: To identify vertebral venous plexuses at the craniocervical junction in cadavers and describe them. METHODS: The authors dissected 15 ink-injected, formalin-fixed, adult cadaveric heads and measured cranial extensions of the spinal venous plexuses. RESULTS: All specimens had vertebral venous plexuses at the craniocervical junction composed of multiple interwoven vessels concentrated anteriorly (anterior vertebral plexuses), posteriorly (posterior vertebral venous plexuses), and laterally (lateral vertebral venous plexuses). Veinsmaking up the plexus tended to be largest for the anterior internal vertebral venous plexus. On 33%, a previously unnamed lateral internal vertebral venous plexus was identified that connected to the lateral marginal sinus. The anterior external vertebral venous plexus connected to the basilar venous plexus via transclival emissary veins in 13%; remaining veins connected either intracranially via small perforating branches through the anterior atlanto-occipital membrane (33%) or had no direct gross connections inside the cranium (53%). The anterior internal vertebral plexus, which traveled between layers of the posterior longitudinal ligament, connected to the anterior half of the marginal sinus in 33% and anterolateral parts of the marginal sinus in 20%. The posterior internal venous plexus connected to the posterior aspect of the marginal sinus on 80% and into the occipital sinus in 13.3%. The posterior external venous plexus connected to veins of the hypoglossal canal in 20% and into the posterior aspect of the marginal sinus in 13.3%. CONCLUSION: Knowledge of these connections is useful to neurosurgeons and interventional radiologists.
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    Author List

  • Tubbs RS; Demerdash A; Loukas M; CurĂ© J; Oskouian RJ; Ansari S; Cohen-Gadol AA
  • Start Page

  • 51
  • End Page

  • 57
  • Volume

  • 14
  • Issue

  • 1