The central nervous system consists of the cerebrum, cerebellum, brainstem and also spinal cord. Their venous drainage is complex, and rather uniquely, does no follow the arterial supply.

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The cerebrum, cerebellum and also brainstem are drained by numerous veins, i m sorry empty right into the dural venous sinuses. The spinal cord is provided by anterior and posterior spinal veins, which drain into the internal and external vertebral plexuses.

In this article, us shall consider the venous drainage the the central nervous system. Us will talk about the dural venous sinuses, cerebral veins, spinal veins, and also consider the clinical relationship of the defined anatomy.

Dural Venous Sinuses

The dural venous sinuses lie in between the periosteal and also meningeal great of the dura mater. Lock are finest thought of together collecting pools that blood, which drain the central nervous system, the face, and the scalp. Every the dural venous sinuses ultimately drain into the internal jugular vein. Unlike most veins the the body, the dural venous sinuses do not have valves.

There space eleven venous sinuses in total. The straight, superior, and inferior sagittal sinuses are uncovered in the falx cerebri the the dura mater. Lock converge in ~ the confluence the sinuses (overlying the internal occipital protuberance). The directly sinus is a continuation of the an excellent cerebral vein and also the inferior sagittal sinus.

From the confluence, the transverse sinus proceeds bi-laterally and curves right into the sigmoid sinus to meet the opening of the inner jugular vein.

The cavernous sinus drains the ophthalmic veins and also can be uncovered on either next of the sella turcica. From here, the blood returns to the interior jugular vein via the superior or inferior petrosal sinuses.


figure 1 – Sagittal section reflecting the dural venous sinuses and the an excellent cerebral vein

Clinical relevance – Cerebral Venous Sinus Thrombosis

Cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST) describes the visibility of a thrombus within among the dural venous sinuses.

The thrombus occludes venous return through the sinuses, and causes an buildup of deoxygenated blood within the brain parenchyma. This in turn have the right to lead to venous infarction. The situation is complex by an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid, which can no longer drain through the thrombosed venous sinus.

Common clinical functions are headache, nausea and vomiting, and also neurological defects.

The definitive diagnosis is usually made by CT or MRI scan v contrast, which demonstrates obstruction the the venous sinuses. Therapy is with anticoagulation.

Veins the the Cerebrum

The veins of cerebrum are responsible for carrying blood indigenous the mind tissue, and also depositing that in the dural venous sinuses.

They have the right to be separated into superficial and deep groups, which space flamboyantly arranged approximately the gyri and sulci of the brain. Upon exiting the cerebral parenchyma, the veins run in the subarachnoid space and pierce the meninges to drainpipe into the dural venous sinuses.

Superficial System

The superficial device of veins is mainly responsible because that draining the cerebral cortex:

Superior cerebral veins: drain the exceptional surface, carrying blood come the superior sagittal sinus.Superficial middle cerebral vein: Drains the lateral surface of each hemisphere, moving blood come the cavernous or sphenopalatine sinuses.Inferior cerebral veins: drainpipe the inferior element of each cerebral hemisphere, depositing blood right into cavernous and transverse sinuses.Superior anastamotic vein (Trolard): connect the superficial middle cerebral vein to the premium sagittal sinus.Inferior anastamotic vein (Labbé): Connects the superficial center cerebral vein to the transverse sinus.

Deep System

Subependymal veins – There are plenty of subependymal veins, which will not be described here in detail. These receive blood native the medullary veins and carry it to the dural venous sinuses. The great cerebral vein (vein that Galen) is worthy that a mention; it is developed by the union of two of the deep veins, and drains right into the straight sinus.Medullary veins: Originate 1-2cm below the cortical grey matter, and also drain right into subependymal veins. These drainpipe the deep locations of the brain.

Other structures in the central Nervous System


There space two key veins responsible because that the venous drainage that the cerebellum – the exceptional and inferior cerebellar veins. They empty right into the superior petrosal, transverse and also straight dural venous sinuses.


Venous drainage of the brainstem is lugged out by many vessels – plenty of of i m sorry are past the border of this article. Instances of veins that drain the brainstem incorporate the transverse pontine vein, anteromedian medullary vein, and the anterior and also posterior spinal veins.

Spinal Cord

The spinal cord is provided by three anterior and also three posterior spinal veins. This veins space valveless, and type an anastamotic network along the surface ar of the spinal cord. They additionally receive venous blood native the radicular veins.

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The spinal veins drain into the internal and external vertebral plexuses, which consequently empty into the systemic segmental veins. The interior vertebral plexus additionally empties into the dural venous sinuses superiorly.