Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 40, Issue 7, pp 835–840 | Cite as

Unilateral duplicated abducens nerve coursing through both the sphenopetroclival venous gulf and cavernous sinus: a case report

  • Thomas Coquet
  • Michel Lefranc
  • Louis Chenin
  • Pascal Foulon
  • Éric Havet
  • Johann Peltier
Anatomic Variations


In this anatomy report, we describe the first case of abducens nerve duplication limited to the sphenopetroclival venous gulf and the cavernous sinus. The objective point of division of the two duplicated roots was localized at the gulfar face of the dural porus, just distal to the unique cisternal trunk of the abducens nerve, as it pierced the petroclival dural mater. In the gulfar segment, both roots traveled through a variant of Dorello’s canal called the “petrosphenoidal canal” and remained separated through the posterior half of the cavernous sinus. Both roots finally fused in the anterior half of the cavernous sinus to innervate the lateral rectus muscle as a single trunk. Although many variants of the abducens nerve have been reported over the recent decades, this anatomic variation has never been previously described and enriches the continuum of abducens nerve variations reported in the literature data. Awareness of this variation is crucial for neurosurgeons, especially during clival or petrosal surgical approaches used for resection of skull base chordomas.


Abducens nerve Duplication Sphenopetroclival venous gulf Cavernous sinus Anatomic variation 



We would like to express our gratitude to all donors to the anatomy laboratory.

Author contributions

TC: project development, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing and editing. ML, MD, PhD: project development, data analysis, manuscript writing and editing. LC, MD: project development, data analysis, manuscript editing. PF, MD: project development, data analysis, manuscript editing. ÉH, MD, PhD: project development, data analysis, manuscript editing. JP, MD, PhD: project development, data collection, data analysis, manuscript writing and editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Coquet
    • 1
  • Michel Lefranc
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louis Chenin
    • 1
  • Pascal Foulon
    • 1
  • Éric Havet
    • 1
  • Johann Peltier
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and Organogenesis, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of Picardie Jules VerneAmiensFrance
  2. 2.Department of NeurosurgeryAmiens University HospitalAmiens Cedex 1France

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