Batson venous plexus

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 24 Apr 2023

Batson venous plexus, also known as Batson veins, are a network of paravertebral veins with no valves that connect thoracic vessels and deep pelvic veins draining the bladder, prostate, and rectum to the internal vertebral venous plexus 1. These veins are important because they are believed to provide a route for spread of cancer metastases or infections to the spine 2.

History and etymology

The plexus is named after the American surgeon and anatomist Oscar Vivian Batson (1894-1979) , who first described it in 1940 3. Several earlier descriptions of the venous plexus had been made however Batson's investigations of cadaveric venous injections and radiography solidified the importance of the venous plexus and its role in metastatic disease (especially prostatic malignancy spread from the veins to the vertebrae) 4.

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