The Development of the Cerebral Venous System - from the Embryo to the Adult Definitive Structure

Leonor Lopes, Teresa Palma, Isabel Cravo, Cristina Gonçalves, Marco Bousende, João Martins Pisco


Introduction: The human development consists of a continuous process where an uninterrupted pattern of extremely complex repetitive cycles of growth, modulation and modification take place. Despite this extreme complexity, the normal development is ordered by an impressive regularity, namely, in chronological, anatomical, topographic and physiological trends. In some organic systems, this development will not be totally ended by the time of birth. In this situation, further changes will have to take place until the adult definitive pattern is achieved. The cerebral venous system (CVS) is such a paradigm.

Purpose: The authors pretend to present a synopsis of the specific organogenesis of the cerebral venous system in order to allow a correct interpretation of the vascular structures, recognise the anatomical variations and better comprehend the topographic correlations between neighbouring structures.

Method and Results: Following a structured and synthetic order, the main guiding lines of the principal evolutional steps will be presented from the first embryological stages until the final and definitive adult pattern.

Conclusion: The detailed study of the continuous development stages of the CVS constitutes a fundamental tool for the whole recognition of the anatomical structures, their correct interpretation and detection of possible variants as well as a better comprehension of topographic relationship between neighbouring structures. In other words and following KL Moore, Embryology illuminates anatomy.

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