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Mastoid Emissary Vein (Left)
Cardiovascular System

Mastoid Emissary Vein (Left)

Emissarium mastoideum

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Quick Facts

Origin: Posterior auricular or occipital vein (suboccipital venous plexus).

Course: Courses through the mastoid foramen in the mastoid region of the temporal bone.

Tributaries: None.

Drainage: Posterior scalp.

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The mastoid emissary vein arises from the posterior auricular or occipital vein which contributes to the suboccipital venous plexus (part of the superficial venous system in the posterior neck region).


The mastoid emissary vein courses through the mastoid foramen in the mastoid part of the temporal bone to reach the sigmoid venous sinus situated intracranially in the posterior cranial fossa (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).


The mastoid emissary vein has no named tributaries, but they may interact with diploid veins.

Structures Drained

Venous blood from the posterior scalp region is drained via the mastoid emissary vein and is delivered to the sigmoid sinus. However, one must be aware of the fact that emissary veins are valveless channels and hence, the blood can flow in either direction.


Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. and Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

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A venous sinus is a vein with a thin wall of endothelium that is devoid of smooth muscle to regulate its diameter.

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