Transverse sinus

Last revised by Dr Daniel MacManus on 04 Mar 2022

The paired left and right transverse sinuses, or lateral sinuses, are major dural venous sinuses and arise from the confluence of the superior sagittal, occipital and straight sinuses at the torcular herophili (confluence of sinuses).

On each side, the transverse sinus then runs in the lateral border of the tentorium cerebelli and grooves the occipital and squamous temporal bones. In their anterolateral portion they receive the inferior anastomotic vein (of Labbé). They terminate in the sigmoid sinus just as it receives the superior petrosal sinus from the cavernous sinus. In turn, the sigmoid sinuses continue as the jugular bulbs in the skull base.

Variant anatomy

The transverse sinuses exhibit highly variable anatomy, which at times makes imaging evaluation of them, in those with possible dural venous sinus thrombosis, very difficult. For example, one study demonstrated 1:

  • 39% hypoplasia of the left sinus
  • 31% symmetric
  • 20% aplasia of the left sinus
  • 6% hypoplasia of the right sinus
  • 4% aplasia of the right sinus

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: diagram - dural venous sinuses
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  • Figure 2: diagram - cerebral veins
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  • Figure 3: venous vascular territories of the lateral cerebral cortex (illustration)
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  • Figure 4: venous vascular territories (illustration)
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  • Figure 5: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 6: dural venous sinuses (Gray's illustrations)
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