Anatomy and pathology of the cranial emissary veins: a review with surgical implications

Neurosurgery. 2012 May;70(5):1312-8; discussion 1318-9. doi: 10.1227/NEU.0b013e31824388f8.


Emissary veins connect the extracranial venous system with the intracranial venous sinuses. These include, but are not limited to, the posterior condyloid, mastoid, occipital, and parietal emissary veins. A review of the literature for the anatomy, embryology, pathology, and surgery of the intracranial emissary veins was performed. Detailed descriptions of these venous structures are lacking in the literature, and, to the authors', knowledge, this is the first detailed review to discuss the anatomy, pathology, anomalies, and clinical effects of the cranial emissary veins. Our hope is that such data will be useful to the neurosurgeon during surgery in the vicinity of the emissary veins.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Veins / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Veins / pathology
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Models, Anatomic*
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / methods*