Reference > Anatomy of the Human Body > Page 658
Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
sinuses at the base of the petrous portion of the temporal bone; they communicate with the veins of the pericranium by means of the mastoid and condyloid emissary veins; and they receive some of the inferior cerebral and inferior cerebellar veins, and some veins from the diploë. The petrosquamous sinus, when present, runs backward along the junction of the squama and petrous portion of the temporal, and opens into the transverse sinus.
  The occipital sinus (sinus occipitalis) (Fig. 570) is the smallest of the cranial sinuses. It is situated in the attached margin of the falx cerebelli, and is generally single, but occasionally there are two. It commences around the margin of the foramen magnum by several small venous channels, one of which joins the terminal part of the transverse sinus; it communicates with the posterior internal vertebral venous plexuses and ends in the confluence of the sinuses.
  The Confluence of the Sinuses (confluens sinuum; torcular Herophili) is the term applied to the dilated extremity of the superior sagittal sinus. It is of irregular form, and is lodged on one side (generally the right) of the internal occipital protuberance. From it the transverse sinus of the same side is derived. It receives also the blood from the occipital sinus, and is connected across the middle line with the commencement of the transverse sinus of the opposite side.
  The antero-inferior group of sinuses comprises the
Two Cavernous.
Two Superior Petrosal.
Two Intercavernous
Two Inferior Petrosal.
Basilar Plexus.
  The cavernous sinuses (sinus cavernosus) (Figs. 570, 571) are so named because they present a reticulated structure, due to their being traversed by numerous interlacing filaments. They are of irregular form, larger behind than in front, and are placed one on either side of the body of the sphenoid bone, extending from the superior orbital fissure to the apex of the petrous portion of the temporal bone. Each opens behind into the petrosal sinuses. On the medial wall of each sinus is the internal carotid artery, accompanied by filaments of the carotid plexus; near the artery is the abducent nerve; on the lateral wall are the oculomotor and trochlear nerves, and the ophthalmic and maxillary divisions of the trigeminal nerve (Fig. 571). These structures are separated from the blood flowing along the sinus by the lining membrane of the sinus. The cavernous sinus receives the superior ophthalmic vein through the superior orbital fissure, some of the cerebral veins, and also the small sphenoparietal sinus, which courses along the under surface of the small wing of the sphenoid. It communicates with the transverse sinus by means of the superior petrosal sinus; with the internal jugular vein through the inferior petrosal sinus and a plexus of veins on the internal carotid artery; with the pterygoid venous plexus through the foramen Vesalii, foramen ovale, and foramen lacerum, and with the angular vein through the ophthalmic vein. The two sinuses also communicate with each other by means of the anterior and posterior intercavernous sinuses.

FIG. 571– Oblique section through the cavernous sinus. (See enlarged image)

  The ophthalmic veins (Fig. 572), two in number, superior and inferior, are devoid of valves.


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