The cavernous sinus. An anatomical study of its lateral wall

  • F. Umansky
  • H. Nathan


The cavernous sinus has been and remains an anatomical enigma. Although Galen described with considerable accuracy the sinuses or dura-matral canals as collectors of the meningeal veins, Vesalius asserted that the sinuses received arteries as well as veins and that a pulsation was transmitted from the former. Probably the earliest description of the cavernous sinus was by Ridley (1695) [12] who placed the internal carotid artery (ICA) against the lateral wall. He also suggested the term “circular sinus” a name still sometimes applied. It was Winslow (1732) [23] who compared the interior of the sinus to that of the corpus cavernosum of the penis and applied the term “cavernous” which has been used ever since. After these first discriptions of the cavernous sinus, numerous anatomical studies have emphasized the importance of this paired venous canal. It is generally accepted that the sinuses are located between the two layers of the dura mater: the periosteal (endosteal) layer forming the floor and most of the medial wall of the cavernous sinus, and the dural layer forming its roof, lateral wall, and the upper part of the medial wall (Fig. 1 a). Different opinions are still found in the literature regarding the lateral wall and its relationship to the structures passing through the sinus (Fig. 1).


Internal Carotid Artery Deep Layer Lateral Wall Cavernous Sinus Dura Mater 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Bedford MA (1966) The “cavernous sinus”. Br J Ophthalmol 50: 41–46PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bonnet P (1955) La loge caverneuse et les syndromes de la loge caverneuse. Arch Ophthalmol (Paris) 15: 357–372Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Christensen JB, Telford IR (1978) Synopsis of gross anatomy, with clinical correlations, 3rd edn. Harper and Row, New York, p 275Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Crafts RD (1979) A textbook of human anatomy, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 503–505Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Gardner E, Gray DJ, O’Rahilly R (1975) Anatomy. A regional study of human structure, 4th edn. Saunders, Philadelphia, p 609Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Harris FS, Rhoton AL Jr (1976) Anatomy of the cavernous sinus. A microsurgical study. J Neurosurg 45: 169–180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McGrath P (1977) The cavernous sinus: an anatomical survey. Aust NZ J Surg 47: 601–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Parkinson D (1965) A surgical approach to the cavernous portion of the carotid artery. Anatomical studies and case report. J Neurosurg 23: 474–483PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Paturet G (1964) Traité d’anatomie humaine, vol 4, système nerveux. Masson, Paris, pp 721–722Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Quiroz-Gutierrez F (1965) Tratado de anatomia humana, vol 2. Editorial Porrua, Mexico City, pp 146–389Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Rhoton AL Jr, Hardy DG, Chambers SM (1979) Microsurgical anatomy and dissection of the sphenoid bone, cavernous sinus and sellar region. Surg Neurol 12: 63–104PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ridley H (1695) The anatomy of the brain. Smith and Walford, London, p 39Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Romanes GJ (ed) (1981) Cunningham’s textbook of anatomy, 12th edn. Oxford University Press, London, p953Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Rouviere H (1970) Anatomie humaine. Descriptive et topographique, lOme edn. Masson, Paris, p 678Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Snell RS (1981) Clinical anatomy for students, 2nd edn. Little, Brown and Co, BostonGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Testut L, Latarjet A (1974) Tratado de anatomia humana, vol 2, angiologiasistema nervioso central. Salvat Editores, Barcelona, p441Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Thompson JS (1977) Core textbook of anatomy. JB Lippincott, Philadelphia, pp 204–206Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Thorek P (1951) Anatomy in surgery. JB Lippincott, Philadelphia, p58Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Umansky F, Nathan H (1982) The lateral wall of the cavernous sinus with special reference to the nerves related to it. J Neurosurg 56: 228–234PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Warwick R, Williams PL (eds) (1973) Gray’s anatomy, 35th edn. Longman, Edinburgh, p 695Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Weinberger LM, Adler FH, Grant FC (1940) Primary pituitary adenoma and the syndrome of the cavernous sinus. A clinical and anatomic study. Arch Ophthalmol 24: 1196–1236Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Weizenhoffer A (1932) Contralateral cavernous sinus thrombosis. NY State J Med 32: 139–142Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Winslow JB (1732) Exposition anatomique de la structure du corps humain, vol 2. Prevost, London, p31Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Umansky
    • 1
  • H. Nathan
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryHadassah University HospitalJerusalemIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Anatomy and Anthropology, Sackler School of MedicineTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

Personalised recommendations