Anatomy and Variants of the Cerebral Venous System – Fact or Defect?

Leonor Rodrigues Lopes, Teresa Palma, Isabel Cravo, Cristina Gonçalves, Marco Bousende, João Martins Pisco


The anatomy of the cerebral venous system (CVS) is based on a known variable three-dimensional structure. For a correct recognition and characterization of its elements, a detailed knowledge of its anatomy and potential variants is essential However, this structural changes, commonly named as variants, may appear in asymptomatic situations as well as associated to certain pathological syndromes with diagnostic and therapeutic consequences. Purpose: The authors present a brief summary of the CVS anatomy, highlight the potential structural changes and discuss their ethiology as constitutional or pathological. Method and Results: Based on clinical cases, the most frequent anatomical modifications will be presented and their ethiology discussed, whether constitutional or pathological. Conclusion: The CVS is characterized by its various presentations. These changes are classically named as anatomic variants. However, they may appear associated to certain pathological situations. Only a profound recognition of the normal CVS anatomy allows a correct definition of the ethiology of the structural change as constitutional or pathologic.

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