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. 


  • 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

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads