Compartments Of The Jugular Foramen

Classically, the jugular foramen has been divided into two compartments, as described by Hovelacque in 1934.7 Later investigators called these two compartments the pars venosum (posterolaterally) and the pars nervosa (anteromedially).4'8'9 These names are misleading, as the pars venosum contains the jugular bulb, the posterior meningeal artery, as well as CN X and XI, and the pars nervosum contains CN IX and the inferior petrosal sinus. In 1997, Katsuta et al.2 divided the jugular foramen into three compartments: (1) the posterolateral sigmoid part (sigmoid sinus), (2) the interjugular or neural part (CN IX anteriorly, and CN X, XI posteriorly), and (3) the anteromedial petrosal part (inferior petrosal sinus). Their three-compartment (two venous and one neural or interjugu-lar) classification system was based on observations made in 32 dry skulls and 33 cadaveric jugular foramina.2 The importance of compartmentalization of the jugular foramen is not to memorize a particular classification scheme, but rather to use these systems as a tool for understanding the anatomy of this region and how it affects the surgical approaches to pathological lesions.

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