Emissary veins of the skull Mastoid emissary foramina: an anatomical morphological study with discussion on their evolutionary and clinical implications

Document Type

News Article


The identification of mastoidal emissary veins is of importance in the neurosurgical practice to diagnose abnormal and normal structures. In the present study, the objectives were to estimate the prevalence rate of mastoidal emissary foramina in the temporal bones of the adult skull and to study their number and morphology. The present study included 48 adult human skulls which were obtained from the gross anatomy laboratory of our institution. The mastoid parts of 96 temporal bones were macroscopically observed for the prevalence, number and morphology of the emissary foramina. It is observed that, the mastoidal emissary foramen was present in 88 temporal bones (91.7%) of our specimens. The foramen was observed single in 60 temporal bones (62.5%), double in 22 bones (22.9%), and triple in 6 temporal bones (6.2%). The mastoidal emissary foramen was absent in 8 (8.3%) temporal bones. The foramen was bilaterally absent in 3 (3.1%) skulls. It was unilaterally absent in 2 (2.1%) skulls and both were on the left side. The mastoidal emissary vein is prevalent in a large number (91.7%) of cases. It was observed that the accessory mastoidal emissary foramina were present in 29.1% of cases. Recognition of the mastoid emissary veins and accessory mastoid emissary veins during the otologic surgery is critical to avoid the significant bleeding. In the neurosurgical practice, the knowledge is important due to variability in the number of mastoidal emissary veins and their connection to the venous sinuses.

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Publication Date

Spring 10-1-2022