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Vein of Labbé

The vein of Labbé, also known as inferior anastomotic vein, is part of the superficial venous system of the brain

The vein of Labbé is the largest channel that crosses the temporal lobe between the Sylvian fissure and the transverse sinus and connects the superficial middle cerebral vein to the transverse sinus.

The frequency with which the vein of Labbé is identified varies across publications and modalities, and is anywhere between 25 and 97% of cases. Its location is also highly variable:

  • mid-temporal region: 60%
  • posterior temporal: 30%
  • anterior temporal: 10%

The anatomy of the vein itself is also variable, with a dominant single channel, multiple branching channels and even venous lakes having been described.

Along with draining the brain immediately adjacent to it, the vein of Labbé also gathers draining tributaries from medial, anteroinferior, and posteroinferior temporal lobe in 80% in cadaveric dissection. 

As can be surmised by first principles, there is a relationship between the size of the terminal superficial middle cerebral vein, the anastomotic vein of Trolard and the vein of Labbé, as all three share a similar drainage territory.

Surgically it is of importance in planning temporal lobectomy for refractory temporal epilepsy, as the vein should be preserved, often requiring some cortical tissue to be left behind. This is especially the case in the 10% of cases where the vein is located anteriorly. 

History and etymology

It is eponymously named after French surgeon Charles Labbé (1851-1889) who described it in his 3rd year of medical school.

Anatomy: Brain

Anatomy: Brain

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Article information

rID: 4693
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Inferior anastomotic vein
  • Vein of Labbe
  • Labbe vein
  • Labbé's vein

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