Prominent basal emissary foramina in syndromic craniosynostosis: correlation with phenotypic and molecular diagnoses

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2000 Oct;21(9):1707-17.


Background and purpose: Jugular foraminal stenosis (JFS) or atresia (JFA) with collateral emissary veins (EV) has been documented in syndromic craniosynostosis. Disruption of EV during surgery can produce massive hemorrhage. Our purpose was to describe the prevalence of prominent basal emissary foramina (EF), which transmit enlarged EV, in syndromic craniosynostosis. Our findings were correlated with phenotypic and molecular diagnoses.

Methods: We reviewed the medical records and imaging examinations of 33 patients with syndromic craniosynostosis and known fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) mutations. All patients underwent CT and 14 MR imaging. The cranial base was assessed for size of occipitomastoid EF and jugular foramina (JF). Vascular imaging studies were available from 12 patients. A control group (n = 76) was used to establish normal size criteria for JF and EF.

Results: Phenotypic classification included Crouzon syndrome (n = 10), crouzonoid features with acanthosis nigricans (n = 3), Apert syndrome (n = 10), Pfeiffer syndrome (n = 4), and clinically unclassifiable bilateral coronal synostosis (n = 6). EF > or = 3 mm in diameter and JFS or JFA were identified in 23 patients with various molecular diagnoses. Vascular imaging in patients with JFS or JFA and enlarged EF revealed atresia or stenosis of the jugular veins and enlarged basal EV. JFA was seen in all patients with the FGFR3 mutation with crouzonoid features and acanthosis nigricans. Four patients had prominent EF without JFS. Six patients had normal JF and lacked enlarged EF.

Conclusion: Enlarged basal EF are common in syndromic craniosynostosis and are usually associated with JFS or JFA. Bilateral basilar venous atresia is most common in patients with the FGFR3 ala391glu mutation and crouzonoid features with acanthosis nigricans, but may be found in patients with FGFR2 mutations. Skull base vascular imaging should be obtained in patients with syndromic craniosynostosis with enlarged EF.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acrocephalosyndactylia / diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Cerebral Veins / pathology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Craniofacial Dysostosis / diagnosis
  • Craniosynostoses / diagnosis*
  • Craniosynostoses / diagnostic imaging
  • Craniosynostoses / genetics
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Skull Base / diagnostic imaging*
  • Skull Base / pathology*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed


  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor