Batson venous plexus

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Batson venous plexus
Latin plexus Batsoni
Anatomical terminology

The Batson venous plexus (Batson veins) is a network of valveless veins in the human body that connect the deep pelvic veins and thoracic veins (draining the inferior end of the urinary bladder, breast and prostate) to the internal vertebral venous plexuses.[1] Because of their location and lack of valves, they are believed to provide a route for the spread of cancer metastases.[2][3][4] These metastases commonly arise from cancer of the pelvic organs such as the rectum[5] and prostate[6] and may spread to the vertebral column or brain.[7][8] There is less evidence of spread of cancers from extra-pelvic origins, such as lung cancer.[9][unreliable medical source?] The plexus is named after anatomist Oscar Vivian Batson, who first described it in 1940.[2] Batson's plexus is part of the Cerebrospinal venous system.

Batson's venous plexus may also allow the spread of infection in a similar manner. Urinary tract infections like pyelonephritis have been shown to spread to cause osteomyelitis of the vertebrae via this route. The osteomyelitis in such a case will resolve concurrently with the same antibiotic that treats the urinary tract infection because both infections are from the same organism.


  1. ^ Wiltse LL; Fonseca AS; Amster J; Dimartino P; Ravessoud FA. (1993-06-15). "Relationship of the dura, Hofmann's ligaments, Batson's plexus, and a fibrovascular membrane lying on the posterior surface of the vertebral bodies and attaching to the deep layer of the posterior longitudinal ligament. An anatomical, radiologic, and clinical study". Spine. 18 (8): 1030–43. doi:10.1097/00007632-199306150-00013. PMID 8367771. 
  2. ^ a b Batson OV (July 1940). "The function of the vertebral veins and their role in the spread of metastasis". Annals of Surgery. 112 (1): 138–49. doi:10.1097/00000658-194007000-00016. PMC 1387927Freely accessible. PMID 17857618. 
  3. ^ Onuigbo WI (1975). "Batson's theory of vertebral venous metastasis: a review". Oncology. 32 (3–4): 145–50. doi:10.1159/000225060. PMID 1221328. 
  4. ^ Zeccolini R, Salvi V (April 1981). "Sulla diffusione delle metastasi attraverso il circolo di Batson. (On the spread of metastases through Batson's circle)". La Radiologia Medica. 67 (4): 257–8. PMID 7313162. 
  5. ^ Mathew P, Fleming D, Adegboyega PA (August 2000). "Myelophthisis as a solitary manifestation of failure from rectal carcinoma. A Batson phenomenon?". Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. 124 (8): 1228–30. 
  6. ^ Geldof AA (May–Jun 1997). "Models for cancer skeletal metastasis: a reappraisal of Batson's plexus". Anticancer Research. 17 (3A): 1535–9. PMID 9179192. 
  7. ^ D'Agostino G, Bigotti A, Pace G (May–Jun 1967). "Importanza del plesso di Batson nella determinazione di metastasi cerebrali isolate. (Importance of Batson's plexus in the determination of isolated cerebral metastases)". Tumori. 53 (3): 237–43. PMID 6051938. 
  8. ^ Oneç B, Oksüzoğlu B, Hatipoğlu HG, Oneç K, Azak A, Zengin N (July 2007). "Cavernous sinus syndrome caused by metastatic colon carcinoma". Clinical Colorectal Cancer. 6 (8): 593–6. doi:10.3816/CCC.2007.n.028. PMID 17681107. 
  9. ^ Onuigbo WI (Nov–Dec 1977). "Paradoxical position of vertebral veins in cancer carriage". Medical Hypotheses. 3 (6): 267–9. doi:10.1016/0306-9877(77)90036-6. PMID 593185.