Inferior petrosal sinus

Last revised by Zander Hendrik Engelbrecht on 21 Feb 2022

The inferior petrosal sinus is one of the dural venous sinuses. It is often a plexus of venous channels rather than a true sinus and drains blood from the cavernous sinus to the jugular bulb through the jugular foramen (pars nervosa) or sometimes via a vein which passes through the hypoglossal canal to the suboccipital venous plexus. The inferior petrosal sinus is usually larger than its superior counterpart and empties the majority of the blood from the cavernous sinus. 

It leaves the posterior wall of the cavernous sinus under the petroclinoid ligament, inferior to the superior petrosal sinus and runs in a shallow groove between the petrous temporal bone and basilar occipital bone (on either side of the clivus). It is connected across the midline by the basilar plexus

Along with the cavernous sinus, it receives tributaries from the medulla oblongata, pons, and inferior surface of the cerebellum as well as labyrinthine veins (via the cochlear canaliculus and the vestibular aqueduct). 

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: diagram - dural venous sinuses
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  • Figure 2: venous vascular territories (illustration)
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  • Figure 3: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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