Cavernous sinus medial wall: dural or fibrous layer?

Neurosurg Rev (2012) 35:147–154. DOI 10.1007/s10143-011-0360-3

The cavernous sinus (CS) has one of the most complex anatomical networks of the skull base and because of the diversity of its contents is involved in many pathological processes. Nevertheless, anatomical literature concerning the CS is still controversial, so a systematic literature review was performed to find out the microanatomy of the medial wall of the CS and its clinical importance on sellar pathologies.

Experimental studies from English-language literature between 1996 and 2010 were identified in MEDLINE, LILACS, and Cochrane databases. After analysis, two tables were prepared exhibiting the major points of each article. Fourteen experimental studies were included in the tables.

Four studies concluded that the medial wall of the CS is composed of a loose, fibrous structure, and the remaining ten presumed that the medial wall is formed by a dural layer that constitutes the lateral wall of the sella. The lack of definition standards and of methodological criteria led to variation in the results among different studies.

Thus, this hindered results comparison, possibly explaining the different observations.