The petrosquamosal sinus: CT and MR findings of a rare emissary vein

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2001 Jun-Jul;22(6):1186-93.


Background and purpose: Morphologic changes in the dural sinuses and emissary veins of the posterior fossa relate closely to the development of the brain. We report characteristic findings of imaging in six patients with a rare and forgotten emissary vein called the petrosquamosal sinus (PSS).

Methods: From a larger group of patients with ear abnormalities, we selected six patients from three ENT imaging centers, because they had CT features suggestive of a PPS. This was the criterion for inclusion in this retrospective study. They were explored by high-resolution CT (HRCT) of the temporal bone. MR venography was performed in three patients to determine the presence and patency of the emissary vein.

Results: The PPS was bilateral in two patients and unilateral in the other four. It affected mainly the left side (left:right ratio, 5:3). Three patients had associated inner ear (n = 2) or middle ear malformations (n = 1). Five of six patients had jugular vein hypoplasia, with development of emissary mastoid veins in three patients.

Conclusion: Petrosquamosal sinus can be identified on HRCT in a typical location. It is encountered more frequently in patients referred for congenital abnormalities of the skull base. This rare anatomic variant should be assessed before surgical treatment, because proper identification of these large venous channels would be of interest to the surgeon.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / diagnosis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cerebral Veins / abnormalities*
  • Cerebral Veins / pathology
  • Child
  • Cranial Sinuses / abnormalities*
  • Cranial Sinuses / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sinus Thrombosis, Intracranial / diagnosis*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed*