Dural venous sinuses

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 20 Dec 2021

Dural venous sinuses are venous channels located intracranially between the two layers of the dura mater (endosteal layer and meningeal layer) and can be conceptualised as trapped epidural veins. Unlike other veins in the body, they run alone and not parallel to arteries. Furthermore, they are valveless, allowing for bidirectional blood flow from and into intracranial veins. 

Together the dural venous sinuses form the major drainage pathways from the brain, predominantly to the internal jugular veins.

It is important to note that the draining territories of intracranial veins are different from those of arterial territories of the major cerebral arteries. 

The main dural venous sinuses can be classified as midline unpaired sinuses and bilateral sinuses that often drain to midline vessels:

Unpaired sinuses
Paired sinuses

Related pathology

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: venous sinuses
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  • Figure 2: venous sinuses
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  • Figure 3: meningeal layers
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  • Case 1: normal CT venogram
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  • Figure 4: venous vascular territories (illustration)
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  • Figure 5: dural venous development (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 6: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 7: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 8: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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