Object: The purpose of this human cadaver study was to determine whether or not an intraosseous skull infusion would access the superior sagittal sinus (SSS) via intradural venous channels. The diploic space of the skull bone contains a sinusoidal vascular network that communicates with the underlying dura mater. Diploic veins in the parasagittal area connect with endothelium-lined intradural channels in the subjacent dura and ultimately with the dural venous sinuses. A significant proportion of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) absorption is thought to occur via arachnoid granulations in the region of the SSS and especially along the parasagittal dura where arachnoid granulations are surrounded by intradural venous channels (lateral lacunae). The CSF is likely to be conducted from the subarachnoid space into the venous system via the fine intradural channels making up the lateral lacunae.
Methods: Infusion of vinyl acetate casting material into the diploic space of the human cadaveric skull resulted in complete filling of the lateral lacunae and SSS. Corrosion casting techniques and examination under magnification were used to characterize the anatomical connections between diploic spaces and dural venous sinuses.
Results: Corrosion casting, performed on five formalin-fixed cadavers, clearly showed the anatomical connections between the diploic infusion site and the venous sinuses in the underlying parasagittal dura where some of the CSF is thought to be absorbed.
Conclusions: The diploic vascular channels of the human skull may represent an indirect pathway into the dural venous sinuses. Intraosseous skull infusion may represent another possible strategy for diversion of CSF into the vascular system in the treatment of hydrocephalus.