Cavernous sinus syndrome is a syndrome characterized by neuropathies of the cranial nerves passing through the cavernous sinus.
The nerves passing through the cavernous sinus are:
- Occulomotor (III)
- Trochlear (IV)
- Ophthalmic (V1)
- Maxillary (V2)
- Abducens (VI)
The optic nerve (II) runs just above the cavernous sinus.
A diagram illustrating the anatomy of the cavernous sinus is shown below:
Presentation of cavernous sinus syndrome is with palsies of whichever cranial nerve is affected, such as impairment of eye movement or Horner’s syndrome.
Causes of cavernous sinus syndrome include:
- Bacterial – staph, strep, tuberculosis
- Aneurysm of internal carotid artery
- Pituitary adenoma
- mets – especially nasopharangeal carcinoma, lymphoma, meningioma, lung and breast metastases
Treatment depends on the cause.
Lee JH, et al. Cavernous sinus syndrome: clinical features and differential diagnosis with MR imaging. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2003; 181(2):583-90.
Sharkawi E, Tumuluri K, Olver JM. Metastastic choriocarcinoma causing cavernous sinus syndrome. Br J Ophthalmol. 2006; 90(5): 654-5.