Child's Nervous System

, Volume 35, Issue 5, pp 747–751 | Cite as

The condylar canal and emissary vein—a comprehensive and pictorial review of its anatomy and variation

  • Stefan Lachkar
  • Shogo Kikuta
  • Joe IwanagaEmail author
  • R. Shane Tubbs
Review Article


The condylar canal and its associated emissary vein serve as vital landmarks during surgical interventions involving skull base surgery. The condylar canal serves to function as a bridge of communication from the intracranial to extracranial space. Variations of the condylar canal are extremely prevalent and can present as either bilateral, unilateral, or completely absent. Anatomical variations of the condylar canal pose as a potential risk to surgeons and radiologist during diagnosis as it could be misinterpreted for a glomus jugular tumor and require surgical intervention when one is not needed. Few literature reviews have articulated the condylar canal and its associated emissary vein through extensive imaging. This present paper aims to further the knowledge of anatomical variations and surgical anatomy involving the condylar canal through high-quality computed tomography (CT) images with cadaveric and dry bone specimens that have been injected with latex to highlight emissary veins arising from the condylar canal.


Posterior condylar canal Anatomical variation Anatomy Cadaver Skull Emissary vein 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Lachkar
    • 1
  • Shogo Kikuta
    • 1
  • Joe Iwanaga
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • R. Shane Tubbs
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Seattle Science FoundationSeattleUSA
  2. 2.Division of Gross and Clinical Anatomy, Department of AnatomyKurume University School of MedicineKurumeJapan
  3. 3.Department of Anatomical SciencesSt. George’s UniversitySt. George’sGrenada

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