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Occipital sinus

Anatomy and function of the occipital sinus.

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Hello everyone! This is Matt from Kenhub, and in this tutorial, we are going to look at one of the unpaired dural venous sinuses of the brain – the occipital sinus.

Firstly, let's have a look at the dural venous sinuses. These are intracranial venous channels located between the endosteal and meningeal layers of the dura mater that drain venous blood from the brain and the meninges into the internal jugular vein. Unlike the venous system found in the rest of the body, the dural venous sinuses do not follow the same course as the cerebral arterial system and they are valveless which allows for the bidirectional flow of blood within these vessels. The walls of the venous sinuses are lined by endothelium. There are six paired dural venous sinuses and four unpaired dural venous sinuses.

The occipital sinus is one of the unpaired dural venous sinuses. It travels within the base of the falx cerebri and is located on the inner surface of the occipital bone as the name suggests. The sinus extends from the foramen magnum to the confluence of sinuses. The occipital sinus along with the superior sagittal sinus, the transverse sinuses and the straight sinus contributes to the formation of the confluence of sinuses, which are found at the level of the internal occipital protuberance.

The occipital sinus receives tributaries from the margins of foramen magnum where it also communicates with the internal venous plexus of the vertebral canal. It drains into the confluence of sinuses. The occipital sinus is the smallest of the dural venous sinuses.

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