Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 41, Issue 9, pp 1029–1036 | Cite as

Diploic veins of the cranial base: an anatomical study using magnetic resonance imaging

  • Satoshi TsutsumiEmail author
  • Hideo Ono
  • Hisato Ishii
  • Yukimasa Yasumoto
Original Article



The anatomy and distribution of the diploic veins (DVs) of the cranial base have not been fully documented. The aim of this study was to characterize these veins using contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).


In total, 95 patients underwent thin-sliced, contrast MRI. Coronal and sagittal images were used for the analysis. The cranial base was divided into the anterior, middle, and posterior bases. Then, each base was further subdivided into three equal parts in the anteroposterior and lateromedial directions. The anteroposterior parts were evaluated on coronal images, while the lateromedial parts were evaluated on sagittal images.


The DVs were identified over the entire cranial base. However, they were more frequent in the posterior-third of the lateral-third region of the anterior, middle-third of the lateral and middle-third regions of the middle, and middle-third region of the posterior cranial base, and sparse in the posterior and medial-third regions of the middle cranial base. The DVs showed marked morphological variability. For instance, the DVs of the pterional area were generally well defined, as pivotal channels connecting the lateral parts of the anterior and middle cranial base, but were highly varied in appearance.


The DVs of the cranial base are distinct structures characterized by morphological variability and topographical predilection. Contrast MRI is useful for delineating these veins.


Anatomy Cranial base Diploic vein MRI 


Author contributions

ST conceived the study. HO and YY collected the imaging data. ST and HI analyzed the imaging data. ST wrote the manuscript.


No funding was received for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare regarding the materials or methods used in this study or the findings presented in this paper.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all involved participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Satoshi Tsutsumi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Hideo Ono
    • 2
  • Hisato Ishii
    • 1
  • Yukimasa Yasumoto
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurological SurgeryJuntendo University Urayasu HospitalUrayasuJapan
  2. 2.Division of Radiological TechnologyMedical Satellite Yaesu ClinicTokyoJapan

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