Child's Nervous System

, Volume 28, Issue 6, pp 827–837 | Cite as

The cranial dura mater: a review of its history, embryology, and anatomy

  • Nimer Adeeb
  • Martin M. Mortazavi
  • R. Shane TubbsEmail author
  • Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol
Review Paper



The dura mater is important to the clinician as a barrier to the internal environment of the brain, and surgically, its anatomy should be well known to the neurosurgeon and clinician who interpret imaging.


The medical literature was reviewed in regard to the morphology and embryology of specifically, the intracranial dura mater. A historic review of this meningeal layer is also provided.


Knowledge of the cranial dura mater has a rich history. The embryology is complex, and the surgical anatomy of this layer and its specializations are important to the neurosurgeon.


Anatomy Cranium Meninges Dura mater Surgery 


  1. 1.
    Alexander WT (1875) Bemerkungen uher die Nerven der Dura Mater. Arch Mikrosk Anat 231–234Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Arnold F (1834) Icones Nervorum Capitis: HeidelbergaeGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Balo J (1950) The dural venous sinuses. Anat Rec 106:319–324PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bauer DF, Youkilis A, Schenck C, Turner CR, Thompson BG (2005) The falcine trigeminocardiac reflex: case report and review of the literature. Surg Neurol 63:143–148PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bisaria KK (1985) The superficial sylvian vein in humans: with special reference to its termination. Anat Rec 212:319–325PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Bischoff T (1842) Entwickelungsgeschichte der Säugethiere und des MenschenGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Breschet G (1829) Recherches anatomiques physiologiques et pathologiques sur le système veineux: et spécialement sur les canaux veineux des os. Villeret et Rouen, ParisGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Browder J, Browder A, Kaplan HA (1972) The venous sinuses of the cerebral dura mater. I. Anatomical structures within the superior sagittal sinus. Arch Neurol 26:175–180PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Bruner E, Sherkat S (2008) The middle meningeal artery: from clinics to fossils. Childs Nerv Syst 24:1289–1298PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Bull JW (1969) Tentorium cerebelli. Proc R Soc Med 62:1301–1310PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Campero A, Martins C, Yasuda A, Rhoton AL Jr (2008) Microsurgical anatomy of the diaphragma sellae and its role in directing the pattern of growth of pituitary adenomas. Neurosurgery 62:717–723PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Clark WE (1940) A vascular mechanism related to the great vein of galen. Br Med J 1:476PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cruveilhier J (1852) Traité d’anatomie Descriptive: Angéologie, 3rd edn. Labé, ParisGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Curnow J (1873) Two instances of irregular ophthalmic and middle meningeal arteries. J Anat Physiol 8:155–156PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Das AC, Hasan M (1970) The occipital sinus. J Neurosurg 33:307–311PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    D’Costa S, Krishnamurthy A, Nayak SR, Madhyasta S, Prabhu LV (2009) Duplication of falx cerebelli, occipital sinus, and internal occipital crest. Rom J Morphol Embryol 50:107–110PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Farb RI (2007) The dural venous sinuses: normal intraluminal architecture defined on contrast-enhanced MR venography. Neuroradiology 49:727–732PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Farrer CB (1907) The embryonic pia. Am J Insanity 63:295–299Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Gailloud P, Fasel JH, Muster M, Desarzens F, Ruefenacht DA (1997) Termination of the inferior petrosal sinus: an anatomical variant. Clin Anat 10:92–96PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Greenberg RW, Lane EL, Cinnamon J, Farmer P, Hyman RA (1994) The cranial meninges: anatomic considerations. Semin Ultrasound CT MRI 15:454–465CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Haines DE, Harkey HL, Al-Mefty O (1993) The “subdural” space: a new look at an outdated concept. Neurosurgery 32:111–120PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Harvey SC, Burr HS (1924) An experimental study of the origin of the meninges. Exp Biol Med 22:52–53Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Harvey SC, Burr HS (1926) The development of the meninges. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 15:545–567Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Harvey SC, Burr HS, Van Campenhout E (1931) Development of the meninges in the chick. Exp Biol Med 28:974–976Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Harvey SC, Burr HS, Van Campenhout E (1933) Development of the meninges: further experiments. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 29:683–690Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Hassler W, Schlenker M (1982) Double falx cerebelli. Case report. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 62:265–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Hédon C (1888) Etude anatomique sur la circulation veineuse de l’encéphale, in Faculté de Médecine de Bordeaux. ParisGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    His W (1865) Die Häute und Höhlen des Körpers: Academisches ProgrammGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Hochstetter F (1939) Über die Entwicklung und Differenzierung der Hüllen des menschlichen Gehirns. Gegenbaurs Morphol Jb 83:359–494Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    House HP, Patterson ME (1964) Persistent stapedial artery: report of two cases. Trans Am Acad Ophthalmol Otolaryngol 68:644–646PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Hyrtl J (1836) Neue beobachtungen aus dem gebiete der menschlichen und vergleichenden anatomie. Med Jahrb Oesterreich Staates 457–466Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Inoue T, Rhoton AL Jr, Theele D, Barry ME (1990) Surgical approaches to the cavernous sinus: a microsurgical study. Neurosurgery 26:903–932PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Kedzia A (1987) The cerebral and meningeal venous valves during human ontogenesis. Folia Morphol (Warsz) 46:197–206Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Keller JT, Saunders MC, Beduk A, Jollis JG (1985) Innervation of the posterior fossa dura of the cat. Brain Res Bull 14:97–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Keller JT, Marfurt CF, Dimlich RV, Tierney BE (1989) Sympathetic innervation of the supratentorial dura mater of the rat. J Comp Neurol 290:310–321PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Kerber CW, Newton TH (1973) The macro and microvasculature of the dura mater. Neuroradiology 6:175–179PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Key A, Retzius MG (1875) Studien in der Anatomie des Nervensystems und des Bindegewebes. GermanyGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Kimmel DL (1961) The nerves of the cranial dura mater and their significance in dural headache and referred pain. Chic Med Sch Q 22:16–26PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Kobayashi K, Suzuki M, Ueda F, Matsui O (2006) Anatomical study of the occipital sinus using contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance venography. Neuroradiology 48:373–379PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Kölliker A (1884) Grundriss der Entwicklungsgeschichte des Menschen und der höheren ThiereGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Kothari M, Goel A (2006) Maternalizing the meninges: a pregnant Arabic legacy. Neurol India 54:345–346PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Lear M, Harvey SC (1924) The regeneration of the meninges. Ann Surg 80:536–544PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Leary T, Edwards EA (1933) The subdural space and its linings. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 29:691–701Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    LeLièvre C (1976) Contribution des crêtes neurales à la genèse des structures céphaliques et cervicales chez les oiseaux, in. University of Nantes, NantesGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lillie FR (1908) The development of the chick. Henry Holt & Co., New YorkGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Luschka H (1850) Die Nerven in der harten Hirnhaut: H. Laupp’schen BuchhandlungGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Mack J, Squier W, Eastman JT (2009) Anatomy and development of the meninges: implications for subdural collections and CSF circulation. Pediatr Radiol 39:200–210PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Mallory FB (1920) The type cell of the so-called dural endothelioma. J Med Res 41(349–364):319Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Marsot-Dupuch K, Gayet-Delacroix M, Elmaleh-Berges M, Bonneville F, Lasjaunias P (2001) The petrosquamosal sinus: CT and MR findings of a rare emissary vein. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 22:1186–1193PubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Nabeshima S, Reese TS, Landis DM, Brightman MW (1975) Junctions in the meninges and marginal glia. J Comp Neurol 164:127–169PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Nunneley SA, Nelson DA (1994) Limitations on arteriovenous cooling of the blood supply to the human brain. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol 69:474–479PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Oka K, Rhoton AL Jr, Barry M, Rodriguez R (1985) Microsurgical anatomy of the superficial veins of the cerebrum. Neurosurgery 17:711–748PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    O’Rahilly R, Muller F (1986) The meninges in human development. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 45:588–608PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Orlin JR, Osen KK, Hovig T (1991) Subdural compartment in pig: a morphologic study with blood and horseradish peroxidase infused subdurally. Anat Rec 230:22–37PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Parkinson D (1967) Transcavernous repair of carotid cavernous fistula. Case report. J Neurosurg 26:420–424PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Patel N, Kirmi O (2009) Anatomy and imaging of the normal meninges. Semin Ultrasound CT MRI 30:559–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Penfield W, McNaughton M (1940) Dural headache and innervation of the dura mater. Arch Neurol Psychiatry 44:43–75Google Scholar
  58. 58.
    Petroni S, Marrone AC (1997) Study of the trabecular projections (chordae Willisii) of the superior sagittal sinus. Ital J Anat Embryol 102:155–163PubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Rhoton AL Jr (2002) The cavernous sinus, the cavernous venous plexus, and the carotid collar. Neurosurgery 51:S375–S410PubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Roland J, Bernard C, Bracard S, Czorny A, Floquet J, Race JM (1987) Microvascularization of the intracranial dura mater. Surg Radiol Anat 9:43–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Salvi G (1898) Histogénèse et structure des meninges. Thèse de ParisGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    San Millan Ruiz D, Fasel JH, Rufenacht DA, Gailloud P (2004) The sphenoparietal sinus of breschet: does it exist? An anatomic study. AJNR Am J Neuroradiol 25:112–120PubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Sayad WY, Harvey SC (1923) The regeneration of the meninges: the dura mater. Ann Surg 77:129–141PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Schmutz HK (1980) The chordae Willisii in the superior sagittal sinus: morphology and classification. Acta Anat (Basel) 108:94–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Schwann T (1839) Mikroskopische Untersuchungen über die Uebereinstimmung in der Struktur und dem Wachsthum der Thiere und PflanzenGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Shukla V, Hayman LA, Ly C, Fuller G, Taber KH (2002) Adult cranial dura I: intrinsic vessels. J Comput Assist Tomogr 26:1069–1074PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Shukla V, Hayman LA, Taber KH (2003) Adult cranial dura II: venous sinuses and their extrameningeal contributions. J Comput Assist Tomogr 27:98–102PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 68.
    Snell RS (2010) Clinical neuroanatomy, 7th edn. Wolters Kluwer Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  69. 69.
    Srijit D, Shipra P (2007) Unusual venous sinuses. Bratisl Lek Listy 108:104–106PubMedGoogle Scholar
  70. 70.
    Standring S (2008) Gray’s anatomy: the anatomical basis of clinical practice, 40th edn. Churchill Livingstone, PhiladelphiaGoogle Scholar
  71. 71.
    Steiger HJ, Tew JM Jr, Keller JT (1982) The sensory representation of the dura mater in the trigeminal ganglion of the cat. Neurosci Lett 31:231–236PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 72.
    Sterzi G (1901) Ricerche intorno alla anatomia comparata ed all’ontogenesi delle meningi: considerazioni sulla filogenesi. Atti Ist Veneto Sci 40:1101–1372Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Tiedemann F, Münz M (1816) Anatomie und Bildungsgeschichte des Gehirns im Foetus des MenschenGoogle Scholar
  74. 74.
    Trolard P (1890) Les veines méningées moyennes. Rev Sci Biol 485–499Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Tubbs RS, Dockery SE, Salter G, Elton S, Blount JP, Grabb PA (2002) Absence of the falx cerebelli in a Chiari II malformation. Clin Anat 15:193–195PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. 76.
    Tubbs RS, Ammar K, Liechty P, Wellons JC 3rd, Blount JP, Salter EG (2006) The marginal sinus. J Neurosurg 104:429–431PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. 77.
    Tubbs RS, Kelly DR, Lott R, Salter EG, Oakes WJ (2006) Complete ossification of the human falx cerebri. Clin Anat 19:147–150PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. 78.
    Tubbs RS, Salter EG, Wellons JC 3rd, Blount JP, Oakes WJ (2007) The sphenoparietal sinus. Neurosurgery 60:ONS9–ONS12PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. 79.
    Tubbs RS, Loukas M, Shoja MM, Apaydin N, Ardalan MR, Oakes WJ (2008) Lateral lakes of Trolard: anatomy, quantitation, and surgical landmarks. Laboratory investigation. J Neurosurg 108:1005–1009PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. 80.
    Vucetic RR (2005) The parasellar dura mater and adjacent dura: a microsurgical and light microscopic study in fetal materials. Neuroanatomy 4:2–7Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Weed LH (1938) Meninges and cerebrospinal fluid. J Anat 72:181–215PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. 82.
    Willis T (1664) Cerebri Anatome cui Accessit Nervorum Descriptio et UsusGoogle Scholar
  83. 83.
    Wolf BS, Huang YP, Newman CM (1963) The superficial sylvian venous drainage system. Am J Roentgenol Radium Ther Nucl Med 89:398–410PubMedGoogle Scholar
  84. 84.
    Yasuda A, Campero A, Martins C, Rhoton AL Jr, Ribas GC, Ribas GC (2004) The medial wall of the cavernous sinus: microsurgical anatomy. Neurosurgery 55:179–189, discussion 189–190PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. 85.
    Zuckerkandl E (1876) Zur Anatomie der Orbitalarterien. Med Jahr 343Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nimer Adeeb
    • 1
  • Martin M. Mortazavi
    • 1
  • R. Shane Tubbs
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aaron A. Cohen-Gadol
    • 1
  1. 1.BirminghamUSA

Personalised recommendations