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Diploic veins

Diploic veins (venae diploicae)
Diploic veins (venae diploicae)

Diploic veins, also known as veins of Breschet, are intraosseous venous vessels immersed in the cancellous bone of the skull that is called diploë.

There are four main groups of diploic veins: frontal, anterior temporal, posterior temporal and occipital diploic veins. Their function is to drain the venous blood from the cranial bones to the dural venous sinuses and other intracranial and extracranial veins.

Key facts about the diploic veins
Origin Small veins of cranial diploë
Drains to (via emissary veins:)
Frontal diploic vein: Supraorbital vein, superior sagittal sinus
Anterior temporal diploic vein: Sphenoparietal sinus
Posterior temporal diploic vein: Transverse sinus
Occipital diploic vein: Occipital vein/Transverse sinus/Confluence of sinuses
Drainage area Diploë of cranial bones

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the diploic veins.

  1. Anatomy and course
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Anatomy and course

Diploic veins in the cranial diploë

The diploë of the cranial bones contains a web of small corridors called diploic channels. Diploic channels house the diploic venous system which collects the venous blood from the diploë. Diploic veins drain the diploic venous system into emissary veins, which subsequently empty into the dural venous sinuses and meningeal veins. At times, the occipital diploic vein drains extracranially into the occipital vein.

Based on the skull region which they drain, diploic veins are classified in the following way;

  • The frontal diploic vein drains the frontal bone and empties into the supraorbital vein and superior sagittal sinus.
  • The anterior temporal diploic vein is found on the temporal side of the head, but it traverses the diploë of the lateral part of the frontal bone. It empties into the sphenoparietal sinus.
  • The posterior temporal diploic vein is located in the parietal bone. It drains the venous blood to the transverse sinus.
  • The occipital diploic vein is the largest of all diploic veins. It is located in the diploë of the occipital bone. This vein drains either extracranially into the occipital vein, or intracranially into the transverse sinus or the confluence of sinuses.

Explore our illustrations and quizzes to learn more about the blood vessels of the skull.

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