Great cerebral vein

Last revised by Assoc Prof Frank Gaillard on 04 Jun 2021

The great cerebral vein, also known as the vein of Galen or great vein of Galen, is a short valveless trunk 

The great cerebral vein begins just below the pineal gland by the union of two pairs of veins; internal cerebral veins and basal veins of Rosenthal. The vein is short and valveless and curves backwards and upwards through the quadrigeminal cistern around the posterior border of the splenium of the corpus callosum to drain into the confluence of the inferior sagittal sinus and the straight sinus.

The drainage territory is highly variable although it usually directly drains the colliculi and receives numerous tributaries:

The great cerebral vein arises as a normal structure in utero derived from the median prosencephalic vein of Markowski.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: vein of Galen malformation (illustration)
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  • Figure 3: venous vascular territories (illustration)
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