Anatomical study of the cavernous sinus emphasizing operative approaches

Turk Neurosurg. 2010 Apr;20(2):186-204. doi: 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.2343-09.1.


Aim: The aim of this article is to describe the microsurgical anatomy of the cavernous sinus, the triangles, and the osseous relationships in the region with special attention to the relationships important in surgical approaches on the intracavernous structures.

Material and methods: Fifty cavernous sinuses obtained from twenty-five cadaver heads were studied in detail using magnification. Stepwise dissections of the cavernous sinuses performed to demonstrate the intradural and extradural routes, anatomy of the triangles and osseous relationships in the region.

Results: The main branches of the intracavernous portion of the carotid artery were the meningohypophyseal, the inferior cavernous sinus, and McConnell;s capsular artery . The main branches of the meningohypophyseal trunk were the tentorial, the dorsal meningeal, and the inferior hypophyseal artery. There were variations of the main branches of the meningohypophyseal trunk. The sixth cranial may splite into rootlets as it passes lateral to the carotid artery. There were size and shape variation of the triangles.

Conclusion: Aprecise understanding of the bony relationships, the anatomy of the triangels and neurovascular content of the cavernous sinus, together with the use of cranial base and microsurgical techniques are necessary for safer surgery. Asingle approach is not capable of providing exposure of all parts of the sinus.

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Carotid Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Carotid Arteries / surgery
  • Cavernous Sinus / anatomy & histology*
  • Cavernous Sinus / surgery*
  • Cranial Nerves / anatomy & histology*
  • Cranial Nerves / surgery
  • Craniotomy
  • Dissection
  • Dura Mater / anatomy & histology
  • Dura Mater / surgery
  • Humans
  • Meningeal Arteries / anatomy & histology
  • Meningeal Arteries / surgery
  • Microsurgery*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures*
  • Skull Base / anatomy & histology
  • Skull Base / surgery
  • Sphenoid Bone / anatomy & histology
  • Sphenoid Bone / surgery