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The cavernous sinuses lie on either side of the body of the sphenoid bone. They receive the ophthalmic veins and terminate posteriorly at the apex of the petrous portion of the temporal bone by dividing into superior and inferior petrosal sinuses.
The internal carotid artery together with its sympathetic plexus, the third, fourth and sixth cranial nerves, and the first and second division of the fifth nerve, lie in its lateral wall.
Cavernous sinus thrombosis is most usually the result of infection on the face spreading through the angular vein into the sinus. Sphenoidal, frontal and ethmoid sinuses may also act as infective sources.