Author: Gordana Sendic•Reviewer: Jana VaskovićLast reviewed: May 31, 2021Reading time: 2 minutes

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Superior petrosal sinus (sinus petrosus superior)

The superior petrosal sinus is a small, narrow dural venous sinus found within the anterolateral margin of the tentorium cerebelli. It spans from the cavernous to the transverse sinus by coursing through a shallow groove on the superior border of the petrous part of the temporal bone.

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The function of the superior petrosal sinus is to drain the venous blood from the brainstem, temporal lobe of cerebrum, cerebellum, middle and inner ear into the transverse sinus. It does so by collecting the blood from the superior petrosal, cerebellar, inferior cerebral, tympanic, and at times, labyrinthine veins. It also connects with the inferior petrosal sinuses and the basilar plexus.

Key facts about the superior petrosal sinus
Drains fromCavernous sinus
Drains toTransverse sinus
TributariesSuperior petrosal, cerebellar, inferior cerebral, tympanic, labyrinthine veins
Drainage areaBrainstem, temporal lobe of cerebrum, cerebellum, tympanic cavity, inner ear

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the superior petrosal sinus.


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Anatomy and course


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The superior petrosal sinus arises from the posterosuperior part of the cavernous sinus. It lies in the anterolateral attached margin of the tentorium cerebelli, coursing posterolaterally through a groove on the superior border of the petrous part of the temporal bone. Along its course, the superior petrosal sinus crosses over the trigeminal nerve, and joins the transverse sinus near its termination, just before the transverse sinus curves inferiorly to become the sigmoid sinus.

The tributaries of the superior petrosal sinus include the superior petrosal, cerebellar, inferior cerebral, tympanic veins, and occasionally labyrinthine veins. Thus, the superior petrosal sinus receives venous blood from parts of the brainstem, the temporal lobe of the cerebrum, parts of the cerebellum, the tympanic cavity and parts of the inner ear, respectively.

The superior petrosal sinus also establishes connections with the inferior petrosal sinuses and the basilar plexus.


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References

Mancall, Elliott L., et al. (2011) Gray"s Clinical Neuroanatomy: the Anatomic Basis for Clinical Neuroscience. Elsevier Saunders.Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F., & Agur, A. M. R. (2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (7th ed.).Netter, F. (2019). Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.Standring, S. (2016). Gray"s Anatomy (41tst ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M., Loukas, M., & Bergman, R. A. (2016). Bergman’s comprehensive encyclopedia of human anatomic variation. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell.

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