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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2012 Feb;33(2):286-91. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A2748. Epub 2011 Nov 3.

Unilateral hypoplasia of the rostral end of the superior sagittal sinus.

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  • 1Neuroradiology Unit, Hospital of Sion, Valais, Switzerland. diego.san-millan-ruiz@hopitalvs.ch



Hypoplasia of the rostral third of the SSS is a well-known variant and constitutes the most frequent variation of the SSS after preferential drainage to one of the transverse sinuses. Our aim was to describe unilateral hypoplasia of the rostral end of the SSS.


CTA performed in 100 consecutive patients studied for conditions other than dural sinus thrombosis was reviewed for the presence of a unilateral or bilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS. Associated dural venous sinus anomalies were recorded as well. The angiographic anatomy of unilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS was illustrated by 2 cases further imaged with DSA.


Unilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS was found in 7 patients (7%). In all cases, compensatory drainage occurred through a large superior frontal vein that joined the SSS in the region of the coronal suture. Three of the 7 patients with a unilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS had at least another dural venous sinus anomaly. Complete or bilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS was noted in 3 patients (3%).


Unilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS is more than twice as frequent as bilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS. It is the most frequently encountered variation of the SSS. Knowledge of this anatomic variation is important to avoid diagnostic pitfalls and to avoid erroneously mistaking it for a thrombosis. Four types of variations of the rostral SSS may be identified: 1) classic anatomy with a fully developed rostral SSS; 2) duplication of the rostral SSS; 3) complete or bilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS; 4) unilateral hypoplastic rostral SSS. The 4 types of rostral SSS variations can be explained by studying the embryologic development of the SSS.

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