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Dura mater

from Latin: durus - tough; mater - mother
Synonyms: dura
German: Dura mater, Dura, Pachymeninx

1 Definition

Dura mater is the outermost part of the meninges that encapsulate the brain, effectively separating it from the skull.

2 Anatomy

Dura mater can be found within the cranial cavity and the spinal canal. Next to the orbital fissures the dura merges with the periosteum of the orbital cavity. Consequently, depending on its location dura can be divided into:

Both parts of the dura merge in the foramen magnum.

3 Blood supply

Several meningeal vessels supply the dura mater with blood:

Falx cerebri and cerebellar tentorium – which partition the brain – are duplications of the cranial dura mater. The venous cranial sinuses run along the edge of the cranial dura.

4 Innervation

The dura mater, which is very sensitive to pain, is innervated by:

5 Histology

The dura mater consists of tough collagenous connective tissue which is covered with low epithelium on its inner surface.

6 Pathophysiology

The subdural space (or subdural cavity) separates the dura from the underlying arachnoid mater. In the healthy brain this cavity is partially filled with connective tissue but as a result of traumatic brain injury, it can be filled with venous, and sometimes arterial blood. This leads to increased pressure on deeper-lying parts of the brain. This subdural hematoma has to be surgically relieved to prevent long-term damage to the brain.

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