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Other Terms: Dura mater of neuraxis, Pachymeninx, Dure-mère
Dura Mater - Brain
The dura mater is the most external membrane of the brain. It forms the internal periosteum of the skull and gives the brain excellent protection. Through the medium of this internal periosteum the bones of the skull receive the greater part of their nourishment. The dura mater is a dense, tough, inelastic fibrous membrane. It is intimately adherent to the base of the skull. This is partly because of the numerous foramina found there. The dura mater is continuous through the optic foramen with the periosteum of the orbit. It is also continuous through the foramen magnum with the dura mater of the spinal cord; also through the fissures and foramina that vessels and nerves enter and leave the cranial cavity. They are sheathed in prolongations of this membrane with the pericranium.
Dura Mater - Spinal Cord
The dura mater is a non-adherent, dense, fibrous sheath which surrounds the spinal cord. The periosteum, which lines the spinal canal, is continuous with, and represents the periosteal layer of the dura mater of the brain. The extradural veins of the spinal canal correspond in position to the sinuses of the dura mater of the brain. The dura mater is separated from the walls of the spinal canal by an imaginary space, the cavum epidurale. This space is occupied by loose areolar tissue, fat, and the anterior and posterior plexuses of the extradural veins. The spinal dura extends from the lower margin of the foramen magnum to the base of the coccyx, where it blends with the periosteum. As an enveloping membrane, it exists only as far as the third sacral vertebra. Beyond this, it is impervious and is only a slender cord which surrounds the filum terminale. It is attached above to the margin of the foramen magnum, to the axis, and to the third cervical vertebra. Below, it is firmly anchored and held in place by its attachment to the periosteum of the posterior surface of the base of the coccyx.