Mastoid emissary vein

Last revised by Rohit Sharma on 25 Apr 2024

Mastoid emissary veins (MEV) are a type of emissary veins representing small venous channels connecting the intracranial and extracranial venous systems.

They may have a right sided dominancy and usually run between the sigmoid sinus and posterior auricular or occipital vein by crossing the mastoid foramen. They may change in size and may be multiple. 

Significance

  • prominent mastoid emissary veins may result in pulsatile tinnitus and non-pulsatile tinnitus 4

  • they could be a potential target for endovascular procedures (endovascular treatment of a dural arteriovenous fistula, etc.)

  • they may be a source of life-threatening bleeding during surgical procedures

  • they can be the source of thrombosis of the sigmoid sinus following middle ear surgery

  • they may constitute a potential risk for spreading infectious processes from extracranial to intracranial compartments

See also

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