QS Study

Cavernous sinus is a large venous space between two layers of dura mater. It is a part of the brain’s dural venous sinus and contains multiple neuro-vasculatures. They are one of several drainage pathways for the brain that sits in the middle.

Situation – In the middle cranial fossa, on either side of the sphenoid bone. It is situated bilaterally to the sella turcica and extends from the superior orbital fissure anteriorly to the petrous part of the temporal bone posteriorly, and is about 1 cm wide and 2 cm long.


  1. The endosteal dura mater: forms the floor of the sinus.
  2. The meningeal dura mater: Form the roof, lateral & medial walls of the sinus.


  • Anteriorly: Up to the medial end of the superior orbital fissure.
  • Posteriorly: Up to the apex of the petrous temporal bone.

Size – 2 cm long and 1 cm wide.


(A) From the orbit

  • The superior ophthalmic vein.
  • A branch of an inferior ophthalmic vein.
  • The central vein of the retina.

(B) From the Brain:

  • Superior middle cerebral vein.
  • Inferior middle cerebral vein.

(C) From the meninges

  • Sphenoparietal sinus.
  • A frontal trunk of the middle meningeal vein.

cavernous sinus - Tributaries and communications

Fig: cavernous sinus – Tributaries and communications


  1. With the transverse sinus through the superior petrosal sinus.
  2. With the internal jugular vein through the inferior petrosal sinus.
  3. With the pterygoid plexus of veins through the emissary’s veins.
  4. With the facial vein through the superior ophthalmic veins.
  5. The two cavernous sinuses communicate with each other through the anterior & posterior intercavernous sinuses &basilar plexus of veins.
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