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Dural venous sinuses

Learning objectives

This study unit will help you:

  1. Understand the venous drainage system of the cranial cavity.
  2. Learn about the location and function of the dural venous sinuses.
  3. Name each dural venous sinus and its tributaries.

Watch video

The dural venous sinuses are major vascular channels contained between the meningeal and periosteal layers of the dura mater. Most of the major dural venous sinuses are found adjacent to the falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli. Major dural venous sinuses include the superior sagittal sinus, inferior sagittal sinus, straight sinus, transverse sinus, sigmoid sinus and superior petrosal sinus.

The main function of the dural venous sinuses is to drain all venous blood within the cranial cavity with the ultimate point of drainage being the internal jugular vein. In addition, the dural sinuses also drain cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) via arachnoid granulations. 

This video tutorial will provide you with an overview of the dural venous sinuses.

Take a quiz

Now that you have watched the videos about the dural venous sinuses, solidify your knowledge by taking our quiz. 

To adjust your focus and choose the topics you’ll get quizzed on, try out our custom quiz on the vessels of the brain.

Browse atlas

Explore the dural venous sinuses in the galleries below.


Key facts about the dural venous sinuses
Definition A collection of sinuses or blood channels that drains all venous blood from the cranial cavity and returns it towards the heart
Location Situated between periosteal and meningeal layers of dura mater
Paired venous sinuses Transverse sinus, cavernous sinus, superior petrosal sinus, inferior petrosal sinus, sphenoparietal sinus, sigmoid sinus, basilar sinus
Unpaired venous sinuses Superior sagittal sinus, inferior sagittal sinus, straight sinus, occipital sinus, intercavernous sinus

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