The venous system of the head and neck of the opossum (Didelphis virginiana)


  • This project was supported by The Ohio State University General Research Support Project 320002-9027.


The venous system of the head and neck of the opossum, Didelphis virginiana, was studied by injecting the veins with a tinctorial mass. Gross dissection spechmens injected with a colored gelatin solution and corrosion specimens prepared by Batson's technique (Batson, '55) were utilized to describe the venous pattern in greater detail than is presently available in the literature. The venous drainage of the superficial structures of the head is principally by way of the V. jugularis externa and its tributaries. Although small emissary veins connect the Sinus cavernosus with the Plexus pterygoideus and the V. maxillaris, the dural venous sinuses drain primarily into the Plexus vertebralis internus and into the V. maxillaris by way of the V. emissaria foraminis retroarticularis. The small V. jugularis interna receives minor connections from the Plexus pterygoideus, the Sinus cavernosus and the Sinus petrosus ventralis as well as anastomotic tributaries from the Plexus vertebralis and the plexus of veins around the hyoid bone. However, the V. jugularis interna serves mainly as a pathway for venous drainage from the deeper structures of the neck and only minimally for draining the brain.