Confluence of sinuses

Last revised by Francis Deng on 18 Jun 2023

The confluence of sinuses (Latin: confluens sinuum), also known as the torcular Herophili and occasionally simply torcula, is the junction of the following dural venous sinuses:

The anatomy is highly variable and three types can be distinguished:

  • type 1: superior sagittal sinus drains into one transverse sinus and the straight sinus into the other, with no connection between the two

  • type 2: superior sagittal sinus and the straight sinus fork, and the forks from both sinuses join to form the transverse sinuses

  • type 3: a true confluence of sinuses

History and etymology

Torcular Herophili originates from the Latin "torcular" meaning wine or olive press and "Herophili" after the Ancient Greek anatomist and surgeon Herophilos (Latinized Herophilus; c. 330 BC – c. 260 BC) 3

Galen first stated Herophilus called the structure the ληνός (lenos), a Greek term meaning vat, tub, or trough (such as for making grapes into wine) 4. In the ensuing centuries, the writing was translated to Arabic and then Latin, when the term torcular was introduced, some say erroneously because of the different meaning 4. The variation "torcula Herophili" arose in the 19th century likely as a spelling error, since torcula is a plural noun (of torculum, also meaning wine or olive press) 4.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Fig 1: angiogram - annotated
    Drag here to reorder.