Superior cortical venous anatomy for endovascular device implantation: a systematic review

Jamie Brannigan, Alexander McClanahan, Ferdinand Hui, Kyle M. Fargen, Nandor Pinter, Thomas J. Oxley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Endovascular electrode arrays provide a minimally invasive approach to access intracranial structures for neural recording and stimulation. These arrays are currently used as brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) and are deployed within the superior sagittal sinus (SSS), although cortical vein implantation could improve the quality and quantity of recorded signals. However, the anatomy of the superior cortical veins is heterogenous and poorly characterised. MEDLINE and Embase databases were systematically searched from inception to December 15, 2023 for studies describing the anatomy of the superior cortical veins. A total of 28 studies were included: 19 cross-sectional imaging studies, six cadaveric studies, one intraoperative anatomical study and one review. There was substantial variability in cortical vein diameter, length, confluence angle, and location relative to the underlying cortex. The mean number of SSS branches ranged from 11 to 45. The vein of Trolard was most often reported as the largest superior cortical vein, with a mean diameter ranging from 2.1 mm to 3.3 mm. The mean vein of Trolard was identified posterior to the central sulcus. One study found a significant age-related variability in cortical vein diameter and another identified myoendothelial sphincters at the base of the cortical veins. Cortical vein anatomical data are limited and inconsistent. The vein of Trolard is the largest tributary vein of the SSS; however, its relation to the underlying cortex is variable. Variability in cortical vein anatomy may necessitate individualized pre-procedural planning of training and neural decoding in endovascular BCI. Future focus on the relation to the underlying cortex, sulcal vessels, and vessel wall anatomy is required.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberjnis-2023-021434
JournalJournal of NeuroInterventional Surgery
StateAccepted/In press - 2024


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