Microsurgical and histomorphometric study of the occipital sinus: Quantitative measurements using a novel approach of stereology



Quantitative descriptions of the occipital sinus are lacking in the extant medical literature. Posterior fossa duras with the superior sagittal sinus, the inferior and superior petrosal sinuses were dissected and taken out from fresh human cadavers by cutting at the superior sagittal sinus, the marginal sinuses and the petrosal sinuses bilaterally. The length of the occipital sinuses was measured using calipers. A 0.5-cm section of the occipital sinus was cut out at its midpoint and prepared for measurements of the perimeter and diameter using a stereology workstation. The sinuses were also examined qualitatively using a surgical microscope. There was no occipital sinus in 6.6% of total 30 cases. Multiple occipital sinuses were seen in 10%. In one specimen, the sinus seemed incomplete, failing to reach the marginal sinuses. Some specimens gave the impression that more than one occipital sinus was present, nevertheless, careful dissection showed connections. The breadth of the sinus steadily narrowed downward in direction of foramen magnum. The inner wall with many fibrous bridges was tight, except the lateral parts that were easily separated into two dural sheets. The length of the sinus varied from 10 to 37 mm. The inner diameter (feret maximum) varied from 0.33 to 7.06 mm at midpoint. The breadth of the multiple sinuses did not exceed the mean of our series except in one case. The occipital sinus, which is generally ellipsoid in shape, functions in the majority of cases as a thin, single midline sinus. It may have less resistant recesses laterally. Clin. Anat. 23:386–393, 2010. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.