A methyl methacrylate casting technique was used to make detailed casts of the intracerebral venous system of four human cadaver specimens. Seven of the eight petrous apices studied were diploeic (n = 5), or pneumatic (n = 2) and had venules coursing in the anterior petrous apex. These venules form conduits connecting the cavernous to the inferior petrosal sinus or the jugular bulb and have not been previously described. In addition to the air cell system of the petrous apex, these venules may represent pathways for the spread of infection and the development of petrous apicitis, Grodenigo's syndrome, and the rare otogenic cavernous sinus thrombophlebitis. Their presence also may help explain the location of cholesterol granulomas, which afflict this area of the skull base.
ASJC Scopus subject areas