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New Perspectives in the Microscopic Structure of Human Dura Mater in the Dorsolumbar Region
  1. Miguel Angel Reina, M.D*,
  2. Martin Dittmann, M.D,
  3. Andrés López Garcia, M.D* and
  4. André van Zundert, Ph.D
  1. *Department of Anesthesia, Hospital de Móstoles, Madrid, Spain, the
  2. Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, District Hospital, Bad Säckingen, Germany
  3. Department of Anesthesiology, Intensive Care, and Pain Therapy, Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
  1. Reprint requests: Martin Dittmann, M.D. Chefarzt Anästhesie und Intensivmedizin, Kreiskrankenhaus, D - 79713 Bad Säckingen, Germany.


Background and Objectives The object of this study was to describe the three-dimensional structure of the dura mater by use of scanning electron microscopy.

Methods Microscopic dissection of the dura mater from four fresh cadavers (aged 70, 75, 76, and 80 years) 8-12 hours after death were investigated in three different planes (longitudinal, tangential, and transverse).

Results The external surface of the dura mater, facing the epidural space, consisted of a network of randomly oriented fine collagen fibers. The thicker elastic fibers (2 μm in diameter) were observed on the surface of the dura. In the inner part of the dura mater, there were very fine lamellae of collagen fibers, which were bundled into thicker (4-5 μm) layers. The dura mater consisted of 78-82 layers, each layer including 8-12 very fine lamellae.

Conclusions The fibers of the dura mater do not run in a longitudinal direction and are not arranged in a parallel fashion. Cytoarchitecturally the dura mater is a laminated structure built up from well-defined layers oriented concentrically around the medulla spinalis.

  • meninges
  • dura mater
  • postdural puncture headache
  • scanning electron microscopy

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