Objectives: : Functional venous anatomy in the brain has been mostly understood from the morphological and embryological points of view and no published study has directly evaluated the blood flow volume of cerebral small veins. We developed a method to directly evaluate the relative blood volume in small venous channels using multi-detector computed tomography (CT) and applied it to evaluate the blood volume in each tributary of the cavernous sinus, which plays an important role in cerebral venous drainage. Patients and Methods: : Ten patients with small brain tumors who had normal venous anatomy were included in the present study. All of them underwent preoperative 320-row multi-detector CT. After injecting the contrast bolus, we measured the Hounsfield units (HUs) at 10 time point over 60 s in each tributary of the cavernous sinus. The gamma distribution fitting to each HU enabled us to obtain a time-density curve and determine the relative venous volume in each venous channel. Results: : In terms of blood volume, the superficial middle cerebral vein and inferior petrosal sinus were the largest inflow and outflow channels of the cavernous sinus and accounted for 36.1% and 24.7% of its inflow and outflow on average, respectively. The superior orbital vein did not contribute to the blood volume passing through the cavernous sinus in the current study. Conclusions: : The present study allowed us to determine the relative blood volume in each tributary of the cavernous sinus, which was very useful to understand the physiological actual venous drainage pattern concerning the cavernous sinus in normal anatomy.
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