Angiographic assessment of the transverse sinus and vein of labbé to avoid complications in skull base surgery

Skull Base Surg. 1993;3(4):217-22. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1060586.


Advances in the field of skull base surgery have dramatically reduced the mortality and morbidity of operations on the skull base. Nevertheless, cerebral ischemic events from compromised blood supply to areas of the brain still occur. Although arterial compromise is responsible for a majority of these events, the venous side of the circulation can also play a role in producing cerebral infarctions. A key area of cerebral venous drainage is at the junction of the transverse sinus, sigmoid sinus, and vein of Labbé. Absence of the transverse sinus with the outflow of the vein of Labbé limited to the sigmoid sinus puts these patients at an increased risk for venous infarcts when this area is manipulated during skull base surgery. We have studied 100 consecutive carotid angiograms performed on 50 individuals for carotid artery disease or to rule out aneurysms. We have found that 16.7% of individuals have one atretic transverse sinus. We discuss our results and the implications that they have in skull base surgery. It is our hope that a better understanding of the cerebral venous drainage patterns will help skull base surgeons avoid complications in the future.