Fate of the three embryonic dural sinuses in infants: the primitive tentorial sinus, occipital sinus, and falcine sinus

Neuroradiology. 2018 Mar;60(3):325-333. doi: 10.1007/s00234-018-1980-x. Epub 2018 Jan 22.


Purpose: The primitive tentorial, occipital, and falcine sinuses are thought to attain the adult pattern or regress between the fetal stage and adulthood. The anatomy of these three primitive dural sinuses has seldom been studied in the infant population, and it remains unclear when these dural sinuses reach the adult condition. Using computed tomography digital subtraction venography (CT-DSV), we analyzed the anatomy of these embryonic dural sinuses in infants.

Methods: We included 13 infants who underwent CT-DSV prior to neurosurgery and 35 cases with unruptured cerebral aneurysms as normal adult controls. Three embryonic dural sinuses, i.e., the primitive tentorial, occipital, and falcine sinuses, were retrospectively analyzed in CT-DSV images of infants and adults. We also analyzed the drainage patterns of the superficial middle cerebral vein (SMCV), determined by the connection between the primitive tentorial sinus and the cavernous sinus.

Results: The primitive tentorial, occipital, and falcine sinuses were present in 15.4%, 46.2%, and none of the infants, respectively, and in 10.0, 8.6, and 2.9% of the adults, respectively. The difference in SMCV draining pattern between infants and adults was insignificant. The incidence of the occipital sinus was significantly higher in infants than in adults.

Conclusions: The connection between the primitive tentorial sinus and the cavernous sinus appears to be established before birth. The occipital sinus is formed at the embryonic stage and mostly regresses after infancy. The falcine sinus is usually obliterated prenatally. Our findings form the basis for interventions by pediatric interventional neuroradiologists and neurosurgeons.

Keywords: Cavernous sinus capture; Falcine sinus; Infant; Occipital sinus; Primitive tentorial sinus; Superficial middle cerebral vein.

MeSH terms

  • Angiography, Digital Subtraction / methods*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Computed Tomography Angiography / methods*
  • Contrast Media
  • Cranial Sinuses / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cranial Sinuses / embryology*
  • Dura Mater / diagnostic imaging*
  • Dura Mater / embryology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Contrast Media