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Skull (Cranium)

The skull, or the cranium 颅, is the skeleton of the head formed by twenty-three cranial bones. It is
divided into two parts. The superoposterior 2/3 is called the cerebral cranium 脑颅 and the
anteroinferior 1/3, the facial cranium 面颅. The cerebral cranium forms the cranial cavity 颅腔 to
house and protect the brain. The dome-shaped roof of the cranial cavity is called the calvaria 颅顶
and its relatively flattened bottom termed the cranial base 颅底. The facial cranium is the skeleton
of the face. Functionally, it forms the orbits 眶 to hold the eyes, and provides bony support for the
nasal cavity, the oral cavity and the auditory organs.

The skull is the most complex part of the human skeleton, and is therefore difficult to learn. For a
beginner, three steps are suggested to study the structures of the skull. The first step is to recognize
the positions of all individual bones on the skull. To do this, please use the colored skull prepared
in our laboratory. The second, study the structures of separated cranial bones. This step is not our
final purpose. It is a preparation for you to go easily to the third step  to better understand the
structures of the skull in whole.

武汉大学医学院人体解剖学教研室
Department of Anatomy
Wuhan University School of Medicine

Skull (Cranium) 颅
— The skull is the skeleton of the head
formed by twenty-three cranial bones
Cerebral cranium 脑颅
→ Cranial cavity 颅腔 Calvaria 颅顶
Cranial base 颅底
Facial cranium 面颅 Orbits
→ The skeleton of the face Nasal cavity
Oral cavity
Study cranium step by step
1. Positions of individual bones on skull
2. Structures of separated cranial bones
3. Structures of skull in whole
Individual Bones of Skull
Positions of cranial bones on skull
The bones of cerebral cranium 脑颅骨 include four paired and four unpaired. The paired four are
two parietal 顶骨 and two temporal bones 颞骨. They are located on each sides of the skull and
contribute to the lateral walls of the calvaria. The temporal bone is located below the parietal bone,
and its petrous part extends medially and anteriorly to form the middle portion of the cranial base.
The unpaired four bones are the frontal bone 额骨, occipital bone 枕骨, sphenoid bone 蝶骨 and
ethmoid bone 筛骨. The frontal and the occipital bones contribute to the anterior and posterior
parts of the cerebral cranium, respectively. So you can easily find the two bones on the surface of
the skull. The sphenoid and the ethmoid bones are located in the interior of the skull and are partly
or completely hidden by other more-superficial bones. In the internal surface of the cranial base,
you can recognize the sphenoid bone by its butterfly-like shape; and anterior to its median part is
the ethmoid bone. In the median plane of the skull, you can see that the sphenoid and ethmoid
bones participate in the formation of both cerebral and facial craniums.

Positions of Individual Bones on Skull


Bones of cerebral cranium 脑颅骨
Paired: parietal bones 顶骨, temporal bones 颞骨
Unpaired frontal 额骨, occipital 枕骨,
sphenoid 蝶骨 & ethmoid bones 筛骨

Bones of facial cranium 面颅骨


Paired: zygomatic bones 颧骨, maxillary bones 上颌骨
nasal bones 鼻骨, inferior nasal conchae 下鼻甲
lacrimal bones 泪骨, & palatine bones 腭骨
Unpaired: mandible下颌骨, vomer 犁骨, hyoid 舌骨
Hard palate

Nasal septum

The bones of facial cranium 面颅骨 include twelve paired and three unpaired. The paired bones
are the zygomatic bones 颧骨, the maxillary bones 上颌骨, the nasal bones 鼻骨, the inferior
nasal conchae 下鼻甲, the lacrimal bones 泪骨 and the palatine bones 腭骨. In the front aspect of
the skull, you can find the zygomatic bones on each sides which contribute to the zygomatic arch
颧弓. Inferior and medial to zygomatic bones are the maxillary bones that form the upper jaw and
hold the upper teeth. The nasal bones are very small and form the root of nose. The inferior nasal
conchae are a pair of small and curved bones that attach on the lower part of the lateral wall of the
nasal cavity. The lacrimal bones are also very small and are located in the medial wall of the orbits.
On the external (or inferior) aspect of the cranial base, you can find the paired palatine bones that
form the posterior part of the hard palate 硬腭. The unpaired bones of the facial cranium include
the mandible 下颌骨, the vomer 犁骨 and the hyoid 舌骨. The mandible forms the lower jaw and
holds the lower teeth. The vomer 犁骨 forms the inferior part of the nasal septum 鼻中隔. The
hyoid 舌骨 is the only one of the cranial bones located in the neck. You can palpate it between the
lower jaw and the larynx 喉.

Structures of separated cranial bones


Frontal bone
The frontal bone is a typical flat bone. Its shell-shaped superior part is called the frontal squama
额鳞 that forms the forehead. From its lower margin, two bony plates extend posteriorly to form
the roofs of the bilateral orbits; this two plates are called orbital plates 眶板. The anterior edge of
each orbital plate is called the supraorbital margin 眶上缘, which has a small notch or orifice
near its medial end, termed the supraorbital notch / foramen 眶上切迹/ 孔.

Structures of separated cranial bones


Frontal bone 额骨 Frontal squama

Frontal squama 额 鳞
Orbital plate Supraorbital margin 眶上缘
眶部 Supraorbital notch/foramen 眶上切迹/孔
Occipital bone 枕骨 Supraorbital Supraorbital
Foramen magnum 枕骨大孔 margin notch / foramen
protuberance 枕外隆凸
External occipital crest 枕外嵴
Occipital Superior & inferior nuchal lines 上、下项线
squama protuberance 枕内隆凸
枕鳞
Internal occipital crest 枕内嵴
Sagittal 上矢状窦沟 &transverse sulcuses 横窦沟 Orbital plates
Occipital condyle 枕髁 Occipital condyle
Hypoglossal
canal
Hypoglossal canal
舌下神经管 Foramen
magnum

Superior & inferior nuchal lines

External occipital crest

External occipital protuberance


Transverse Sagittal
sulcuses sulcus

Occipital bone
The occipital bone contributes to the posterior part of the cerebral cranium. It has a large foramen
in its anterior part called the foramen magnum 枕骨大孔. The shell-shaped part behind the
foramen is the occipital squama 枕鳞. On the outer surface of the occipital squama, there is a
central prominence called the external occipital protuberance 枕外隆凸. Along the midline, there
is a bony ridge extending between the protuberance and the foramen magnum, called the external
occipital crest 枕外嵴. Two curved ridges that intersect the external occipital crest are the superior
and inferior nuchal lines 上、下项线.All these structures mark the attachments of muscles or
ligaments. On the inner surface of the occipital squama, there are a corresponding central
prominence and a median crest, called the internal occipital protuberance 枕内隆凸 or the
internal occipital crest 枕 内 嵴 . Three shallow grooves extend from the internal occipital
protuberance superiorly or laterally. The superior one is called the sagittal sulcus 上矢状窦沟 and
the lateral two are the transverse sulcuses 横窦沟. On the lateral sides of the foramen magnum
there are two bony prominences called the occipital condyles 枕髁 . Each condyle has an
oval-shaped articular surface that articulates with the first vertebra of the neck. A canal that passes
through the base of each occipital condyle is the hypoglossal canal 舌下神经管, the path for the
hypoglossal nerve 舌下神经.

Parietal bones
The parietal bones are paired, which form the lateral part of the calvaria. On their inner surface,
numerous grooves can be seen, which are the paths for the branches for the meningeal vessels.

Structures of separated cranial bones


Zygomatic
process
Temporal bone 颞骨 External
acoustic
Zygomatic process 颧突 pore
Mastoid process 乳突
Temporal Styloid process 茎突 Articular
squama External acoustic pore 外耳门 tubercle

鳞部 Mandibular fossa下颌窝 Mastoid


process
Articular tubercle 关节结节
Styloid process
Arcuate eminence弓状隆起
Petrous Tegmen tympani 鼓室盖
Part Trigeminal impression 三叉神经压迹
岩部
Internal acoustic pore 内耳门
Zygomatic
arch

Temporo-
Mandibular
joint

Temporal bones
The temporal bones are located in the lateral sides of the skull just below the parietal bones. It has
a convex temporal squama 鳞部 and a pyramid-shaped petrous part 岩部 protruding from its
internal surface.
The lower part of the outer surface of the temporal squama is irregular because three processes are
formed. The first one is the zygomatic process 颧突 that protrudes anteriorly and connects with the
zygomatic bone to form the zygomatic arch. The second is the blunt mastoid process 乳突 that
protrudes inferiorly. The third one is very thin and sharp, called the styloid process 茎突. Anterior
to the base of the mastoid process is an orifice called the external acoustic pore 外耳门, which is
the opening of the external acoustic meatus 外耳道,. A deep depression anterior to the external
acoustic pore is the mandibular fossa 下颌窝 and it has a prominent anterior edge, called the
articular tubercle 关节结节. The mandibular fossa and the articular tubercle, form an articular
socket that articulates with the head of mandible to form the temporomandibular joint 颞下颌关
节. The petrous part of the temporal bone has a triangular pyramid shape. On its anterosuperior
surface there is an obvious prominence called the arcuate eminence 弓状隆起. The small area
lateral to the eminence is called the tegmen tympani 鼓室盖, which is the roof of the tympanic
cavity 鼓室. Near the apex of the petrous part there is a small depression called the trigeminal
impression 三叉神经压迹 that marks the location of the trigeminal ganglion 三叉神经节. On the
posterior surface of the petrous part, you can see an orifice called the internal acoustic pore 内耳
门.

Structures of separated cranial bones Sella turcica

Sphenoid Bone 蝶骨
Sella Anterior: Tuberculum sellae 鞍结节
Posterior: Dorsum sellae 鞍背
turcica Lateral: Carotid sulcuses & canals
Body 蝶 鞍
体 颈动脉沟 → 颈动脉管内口
Central: Hypophysial fossa 垂体窝
Chiasmatic sulcus 交叉沟
Lesser wings 小翼: Optic canals 视神经管 Paths
Superior orbital fissure 眶上裂 for
Foramen rotundum 圆孔 Nerves
Greater wings 大翼 Foramen ovale 卵圆孔 Vessels
Foramen spinosum 棘孔
Pterygoid process
翼 突 Lesser wing Body
Lateral Greater wing
pterygoid plate
翼突外侧板
Superior
Superior
Medial Orbital
Orbital
pterygoid plate fissure
fissure Lateral pterygoid
翼突内侧板 plate
Pterygoid Medial pterygoid
process plate

Sphenoid Bone
The sphenoid bone is easy to be recognized on the cranial base by its butterfly-like shape. When
separated from the skull, you can see it has a central part called the body. From each side of the
body two wings extend laterally, the lesser and the greater wings 蝶骨小翼、蝶骨大翼. A slit
between the two wings is called the superior orbital fissure 眶上裂. From the lower part of the
body, a pair of processes protrude inferiorly. They are called the pterygoid processes 翼突. The
superior surface of the body is called the sella turcica 蝶鞍 (means saddle-shaped enclosure). It is
bounded anteriorly and posteriorly by two transverse bony crests, the tuberculum sellae 鞍结节
and the dorsum sellae 鞍背, and laterally by two shallow grooves, the carotid sulcuses 颈动脉沟
that extend posteriorly to the internal opening of the carotid canals 颈动脉管内口. The selle
turcica is very important because it is related with a number of marks or paths for nervous and
vascular structures. In its center, there is a shallow depression called the hypophysial fossa 垂体窝,
which lodges the pituitary gland 垂体. Surrounding the anterior and lateral borders of the sella
turcica is a series of fissures and foramina arranged like an English letter “H”. In front of
tuberculum sellae is a transverse shallow groove called the chiasmatic sulcus 交叉沟 which
extends laterally to the optic canals 视神经管 in the root of the lesser wings. Lateral to each carotid
canal and arranged from anterior backwards along a curved line are the superior orbital fissure 眶
上裂 between the lesser and greater wings, and the foramen rotundum 圆孔, foramen ovale 卵圆
孔, and foramen spinosum 棘孔 on the base of the greater wing. All of these are important paths
for nerves or vessels. The pterygoid process on each side extends inferiorly from the body. It
consists of a lateral and a medial pterygoid plates 翼突外、内侧板.

Cribriform
foramina Crista galli Structures of separated cranial bones

Ethmoid bone 筛骨
Crista galli 鸡冠
Cribriform plate
Cribriform foramina 筛孔
筛 板
Paths for olfactory nerves 嗅神经
Perpendicular Plate 垂直板: Part of nasal septum

Lateral masses Ethmoidal sinuses 筛窦


Superior & Middle nasal conchae
(Ethmoid labyrinths) 上鼻甲 中鼻甲
筛骨迷路
Ethmoidal
sinuses Crista galli
Cribriform plate
Crista
Cristagalli
galli Perpendicular
Plate
Lateral
masses

Nasal Superior & Middle nasal conchae


septum
Superior Aspect Posterior Aspect

Ethmoid bone
The ethmoid bone is small and hidden in the central part of the skull by other more-superficial
bones. When separated from the skull, you can see that it consists of three parts: a horizontal part
called the cribriform plate 筛板, a longitudinal part called perpendicular plate 垂直板 and two
lateral masses called the ethmoidal labyrinths 筛 骨 迷 路 . The cribriform plate forms the
anteromedian part of the cranial base. It has a central ridge protruding superiorly, which is called
the crista galli 鸡冠, and lateral to each side of the ridge are numerous apertures called the
cribriform foramina 筛孔. The cribriform foramina are important paths which allow the olfactory
nerves 嗅神经 passing from the nasal cavity into the cranial cavity. The perpendicular plate of the
ethmoid bone extends inferiorly from the cribriform plate. It forms the superior part of the nasal
septum. The lateral masses of the ethmoid bone get the name of ethmoidal labyrinths because their
interior consists of numerous air-containing cells called the ethmoidal sinuses 筛窦. The medial
aspect of each lateral mass is irregular and has two curved projections, the superior and middle
nasal conchae 上、中鼻甲. The lateral aspect of the mass is smooth and contributes to the formation
of the medial wall of the orbits.

Frontal process
Infraorbital groove
Structures of separated cranial bones
Infra-
orbital
margin
Infra-
Maxillary bone 上颌骨
orbital
foramen
Maxillary sinus 上颌窦
Alveolar Body Infraorbital margin 眶下缘
process 体 Infraorbital → Infraorbital → Infraorbital
groove 眶下沟 canal 眶下管 foramen 眶下孔
Zygomatic process Frontal process 额突
Zygomatic process 颧突
Maxillary
sinus Alveolar process 牙槽突: holds the upper teeth
Palatine process 腭突: anterior part of hard palate 硬腭
Hard palate

Palatine
Palatine Bone
process 腭骨
Perpendicular plate
垂直板
Horizontal plate
水平板

Maxillary bone
The maxillary bones constitute the central part of the facial skeleton. They join to form the upper
jaw, and participate in the formation of the orbits, the nasal cavity and the hard palate. When
separated from the skull, you can see that each maxillary bone has a body and four processes. The
body is its major part with a big cavity inside it, called the maxillary sinus 上颌窦. The superior
surface of the body forms the floor of the orbit. A groove extending anteriorly on this surface is
called the infraorbital groove 眶下沟. It continues with the infraorbital canal 眶下管 that passes
through the body and finally opens at the infraorbital foramen 眶下孔 on the anterior surface. The
four processes of the maxillary bone are the frontal process 额突 that articulates with the frontal
bone, the zygomatic process 颧突 that joins the zygomatic bone, the alveolar process 牙槽突 that
holds the upper teeth and the horizontal palatine process 腭突 that forms anterior part of the hard
palate.

Palatine bones
The palatine bones are very small and delicate. Each has a horizontal plate 水平板 and a
perpendicular plate 垂直板. The horizontal plates of the two palatine bones join to form the
posterior part of the hard palate. The perpendicular plates contribute to the formation of the later
wall of the nasal cavity and the floor of the orbits.

Head & neck Condylar process


Structures of separated cranial bones of mandible Coronoid
process
Mandibular
notch
Mandible 下颌骨 notch
Mandibular
foramen
Body of mandible下颌体: Ramus

Alveolar arch 牙槽弓


Base & angle of mandible下颌底、下颌角
Angle of mandible
Mental protuberance 颏隆凸 Base of mandible

Rami of mandible下颌支: Mental foramen

Coronoid process 冠突 Alveolar arch


 Mandibular notch 下颌切迹
Condylar process 髁突 Head of mandible下颌头
Neck of mandible下颌颈
Mandibular foramen→Canal→Mental foramen
下颌孔 下颌管 颏 孔

Hyoid 舌骨
Greater horn 大角
Body 舌骨体
Lesser horn 小角
Mental
protuberance

Mandible
The mandible forms the lower jaw of the face and is the only movable bone in the skull. The lower
and horizontal part of the bone is called the body of mandible 下颌体, and two ascending parts
from the ends of the body are the rami of mandible 下颌支. The upper edge of the body that holds
the lower teeth is called the alveolar arch 牙槽弓. The lower margin of the body is called the base
of mandible 下颌底, It extends posteriorly and laterally to meet with the posterior edge of each
ramus, forming the angle of mandible 下颌角. The median part of the body is thickened and
protrudes anteriorly, forming a triangular prominence called the mental protuberance 颏隆凸. The
mental protuberance, the base of mandible and the angles of mandible, are important landmarks of
the face. Each ramus of mandible has two processes projecting from its superior end. The anterior
one is called the coronoid process 冠突 and the posterior one, the condylar process 髁突. The
curved edge between them is the mandibular notch 下颌切迹. The condylar process has a round
end called the head of mandible 下颌头, and a narrow region just below the head is the neck of
mandible 下颌颈. On the medial surface of each ramus, there is an orifice called the mandibular
foramen 下颌孔. It is the entrance of the mandibular canal 下颌管. The canal is a path inside the
bone that finally opens at the mental foramen 颏孔 on the outer surface of the body of mandible.

Hyoid
The hyoid lies in the neck between the lower jaw and the larynx 喉. The bone has a central body 舌
骨体, and paired greater and lesser horns 舌骨大角、舌骨小角.
Views of Adult Skull
Superior aspect of calvaria
On the superior aspect of the calvaria, three sutures can be seen: the sagittal suture 矢状缝
between the two parietal bones, the coronal suture 冠状缝 connecting the frontal bone to the
parietal bones and the lambdoid suture 人字缝 connecting the occipital to the parietal bones. The
sagittal suture meets the coronal suture anteriorly and the lambdoid suture posteriorly. The anterior
intersection point is called the bregma 前囟点 and the posterior one, the lambda 人字点.

Lambda
View of Adult Skull 成人颅的整体观
Lambdoid
suture
Superior aspect of calvaria 颅顶上面
Sagittal suture
Coronal suture 冠状缝 Bregma 前囟点
Sagittal suture 矢状缝
Lambda人字点
Lambdoid suture人字缝 Bregma
Coronal suture
Internal aspect of cranial base 颅底内面
1. Anterior cranial fossa 颅前窝
Crista gali 鸡冠
Cribriform foramina Olfactory nerve Anterior cranial fossa
筛孔 嗅神经

Crista gali Occipital bone Middle cranial fossa

Ethmoid bone
Cribriform foramina
Lesser wings of Posterior cranial fossa
sphenoid bone

Internal aspect of cranial base


The internal aspect of the cranial base is naturally divided into three stepwise fossae, the anterior
cranial fossa 颅前窝 at the highest level, the posterior cranial fossa 颅后窝 at the lowest and the
middle cranial fossa 颅中窝 in between.

Anterior cranial fossa: The anterior cranial fossa is formed by the orbital plates of the frontal
bone, the lesser wings of the sphenoid bone and the cribriform plates of the ethmoid bone.
Important structures in this fossa are the crista gali and the cribriform foramina. As mentioned
previously, the cribriform foramina are paths for the olfactory nerves.

Middle cranial fossa: The middle cranial fossa is formed by the major part of the sphenoid bone
and the temporal bones. As you have learned, the superior surface of the sphenoid body is called
the sella turcica. It is bounded anteriorly by the tuberculum sellae, posteriorly by the dorsum sellae
and laterally by the carotid sulcuses that extend posteriorly to the internal openings of the carotid
canals. The central depression of the sella turcica is the hypophysial fossa, which lodges the
pituitary gland. In front of sella turcica is the chiasmatic sulcus which extends to the bilateral optic
canals. Lateral to each side of the sella turcica and arranged from anterior backwards along a
curved line are the superior orbital fissure, the foramen rotundum, the foramen ovale, and the
foramen spinosum. The other two important structures in the middle cranial fossa are on the
anterior surface of the petrous part of the temporal bone: the trigeminal impression that marks the
location of the trigeminal ganglia, and the tegmen tympani that is located lateral to the arcuate
eminence and is the roof of the tympanic cavity.

Internal aspect of cranial base 颅底内面


2. Middle cranial fossa 颅中窝
Hypophysial fossa 垂体窝: a shallow depression lodging the pituitary gland
Carotid sulcuses 颈动脉沟 → Carotid canals 颈动脉管(内口)
Chiasmatic sulcus 交叉沟 → Optic canals 视神经管 Paths
Superior orbital fissure 眶上裂 Marks
Foramen rotundum 圆孔 For
Foramen ovale 卵圆孔 Nerves
Foramen spinosum 棘孔 Vessels
Trigeminal impression 三叉神经压迹
Tegmen tympani 鼓室盖  the roof of the tympanic cavity 鼓室上壁
Chiasmatic sulcus & optic canals Tuberculum sellae
Superior orbital fissure
Foramen rotundum
Foramen ovale Carotid sulcus
& Carotid canal
Foramen spinosum

Trigeminal impression Petrous part of


Tegmen tympani temporal bone

Arcuate eminence Dorsum sellae

Posterior cranial fossa: The posterior cranial fossa is formed mainly by the occipital bone and the
posterior part of the temporal bones. At its center is the foramen magnum with the hypoglossal
canal on each of its sides. The foramen magnum is an opening to the vertebral canal, and the
hypoglossal canals are the paths through which the hypoglossal nerves leave the cranial cavity. On
the posterior surface of the petrous part of the temporal bone, you can find the internal acoustic
pore, the opening of the internal acoustic meatus. From the posterior edge of the foramen magnum,
the internal occipital crest runs backward and ends at the internal occipital protuberance. The
grooves extending from the protuberance are the sagittal sulcus and two transverse sulcuses. The
transverse sulcus on each side continues into the sigmoid sulcus 乙状窦沟 which finally ends at the
jugular foramen 颈静脉孔. These sulcuses mark the locations of the dural sinuses 硬脑膜窦,
which are a special form of the veins in the cranial cavity.
Internal aspect of cranial base 颅底内面

3. Posterior cranial fossa 颅后窝


Foramen magnum 枕骨大孔 Paths
Hypoglossal canals For
舌下神经管(内口) Nerves
Internal acoustic pore 内耳门 Vessels
Internal acoustic meatus
内耳道

Sagittal sulcus 上矢状窦沟


↓ Marks for
Transverse sulcus 横窦沟
dural venous
↓ sinuses
Sigmoid sulcus 乙状窦沟
硬脑膜窦

Jugular foramen 颈静脉孔

External aspect of cranial base


The most anterior part of this aspect is the hard palate surrounded by the U-shaped alveolar arch
and upper teeth. The hard palate has three important foramina. One is located in anteromedian and
called the incisive foramen 切牙孔. The other two are located posterolaterally on each sides and
called the greater palatine foramina 腭大孔. They are the outlets for branches of the trigeminal
nerve 三叉神经. Above the posterior margin of the hard palate are the posterior nasal apertures
鼻后孔 which are separated by the vomer. The lateral margin of each aperture is formed by the
medial pterygoid plate of the pterygoid process. Behind the pterygoid process there is an irregular
defect called the foramen lacerum 破裂孔. Please note that the defect is originally sealed by a
cartilage; but in a dried skull, the cartilage dropped out. Therefore, the foramen lacerum does not
exist in the skull of a living body. Posterior and a little lateral to the lateral pterygoid plate are a
series of foramina that you have learned when observing the internal aspect of the cranial base.
From anterior backwards, they are the foramen ovale, the foramen spinosum, the external opening
of the carotid canal and the jugular foramen. Lateral to the jugular foramen, and between the bases
of the styloid and mastoid processes is a small orifice called the stylomastoid foramen 茎乳孔,
which is the opening of the canal for facial nerve 面神经管. Medial to the jugular foramen are the
occipital condyle and the foramen magnum. On the lateral side of the occipital condyle, you can
find the external opening of the hypoglossal canal. In addition to the structures mentioned above,
you can also find the external occipital protuberance, the external occipital crest and the
mandibular fossa with the articular tubercle.
External aspect of cranial base 颅底外面
Alveolar arch 牙槽弓 Hard palate 骨腭 Incisive foramen Hard palate
Incisive foramen 切牙孔 Greater palatine foramina
Posterior nasal apertures Alveolar arch
Greaterpalatineforamina 腭大孔
Medial & lateral
pterygoid plates
Posterior nasal apertures 鼻后孔
Medial & lateral pterygoid plates Foramen lacerum

翼突内外侧板 Foramen ovale


Sealed by Foramen
Foramen lacerum 破裂孔 cartilage in spinosum
living body
Carotid canal
Foramen ovale 卵圆孔
Jugular foramen
Foramen spinosum 棘孔
Stylomastoid
Carotid canal 颈动脉管(外口) Foramen
Paths (located between
Jugular foramen 颈静脉孔 the bases of the
For styloid & mastoid
processes)
Stylomastoid foramen 茎乳孔 N. V.
Canal for facial nerve 面神经管 Foramen magnum

Foramen magnum 枕骨大孔 Occipital condyles


Hypoglossal canal 舌下神经管外口 with hypoglossal canal
passing through its base

Occipital condyles 枕髁 Mandibular fossa Articular tubercle

Lateral aspect of skull


In the lateral aspect of the skull, there is a very important landmark, the zygomatic arch, which is
formed by the zygomatic process of the temporal bone and the temporal process of the zygomatic
bone. The area above the arch and bounded superiorly by the temporal line is called the temporal
fossa 颞窝, and the space below the arch and deep to the ramus of mandible is called the
infratemporal fossa 颞下窝.

Temporal fossa: In anterior part of the temporal fossa, superior to the mid-point of the zygomatic
arch, you can find the junction site of the frontal bone, the parietal bone, the temporal bone and the
greater wing of the sphenoid bone. This site is called the pterion 翼点 and it is indicated by sutures
like an English letter “H”. The pterion is the weakest area of the calvaria with the anterior branch
of the middle meningeal artery 脑膜中动脉 passing through a groove on its inner surface. Thus a
blow on the lateral side of the head may cause the fracture at pterion, which may rupture the artery,
leading to sever intracranial bleeding 颅内出血.
.
Infratemporal fossa: In the infratemporal fossa, there is a slit between the pterygoid process of
the sphenoid bone and the body of the maxillary bone, called the pterygomaxillary fissure. It is
the entrance of a narrow space between the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone and vertical
plate of the palatine bone. This space is called the pterygopalatine fossa 翼 腭 窝 . The
pterygopalatine fossa is a very important path for cranial nerves and vessels. It communicates
laterally to the infratemporal fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure, medially to the nasal
cavity through the sphenopalatine foramen 蝶腭孔, inferiorly to the oral cavity through the
greater palatine foramen 腭大孔 posterosuperiorly to the middle cranial fossa through the
foramen rotundum and anterosuperiorly to the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure 眶下裂.

Lateral aspect Pterion Pterygomaxillary fissure


(entrance of pteryygopalatine
fossa)
of skull 颅的侧面 Temporal
line

Temporal fossa 颞窝
Pterion 翼点 The weakest
site of the calvaria
Infratemporal fossa 颞下窝

→Pterygomaxillary fissure 翼上颌裂
Pterygo- →Sphenopalatine foramen 蝶腭孔→ Nasal cavity 鼻腔
palatine
Fossa →Greater palatine foramina 腭大孔 → Oral cavity 口腔
翼腭窝 →Foramen rotundum圆孔→Middle cranial fossa 颅中窝
→Inferior orbital fissure 眶下裂 → Orbit 眶
Temporomandibular joint 颞下颌关节
Mandibular fossa下颌窝+ Articular tubercle
关节结节
Compersition Articular disc 关节盘
Head of mandible 下颌头
Depression ? elevation: Open ? close mouth
Movements Protrusion ? retrusion or lateral movements Chewing

In the lateral aspect of the skull, you can find several other important structures such as the
external acoustic pore and the mastoid process. Anterior to the external acoustic pore, is the
temporomandibular joint 颞下颌关节 . The articular socket of the joint is formed by the
mandibular fossa and the articular tubercle, and the articular head is the head of mandible. All the
components are enclosed by an articular capsule. Inside articular capsule, there is an articular disc
that separates the articular cavity into two parts. The bilateral temporomandibular joints are the
coordinating joints. They allow depression and elevation (extension and flexion) of the lower jaw
to open or close the mouth, and they also permit protrusion, retrusion and lateral movements of the
lower jaw. All of these movements together allow an important function, to bite and chew your
food while you are eating.

Anterior aspect of skull


Important Landmarks
On the anterior aspect of the skull, there are several important landmarks that are key factors to
determine the profile of an individual face. These include the frontal tubers 额结节 (located
laterally and symmetrically on the forehead), the zygomatic arches, the angles of mandible and the
mental protuberance. These bony eminences are very useful in forensic medicine and anthropology.
For example, using these landmarks as references, an anthropologist can re-establish the face of an
ancient person.

Anterior aspect Frontal tubers

of Skull 颅的前面
1. Important Landmarks
Frontal tubers 额结节
Zygomatic arches 颧弓
Angles of mandible 下颌角
Mental protuberance 颏隆凸

Key factors determining the profile of an


individual face 面部轮廓决定标志

Supraorbital foramen/notch 眶上孔/切迹


Infraorbital foramen 眶上孔
Mental foramen 颏孔
Block anaesthesia for
Outlets for branches of trigeminal nerve releasing a severe
supplying the major part of the face pain in the face

In addition to these bony eminences, three foramina on each side, the supraorbital foramen, the
infraorbital foramen and the mental foramen are aligned along a vertical line about 2.5 cm lateral
to the anteromedian line. They are the outlets for the major sensory nerves to the face. Clinically,
an injection of anesthetic into the three foramina can release severe pain in the face.

In addition to the useful landmarks, the bilateral orbits, the nasal and the oral cavities open to the
anterior aspect of the skull.

The Orbits
The orbit is a pyramid bony socket in each side of the facial cranium, which lodges the eyeball and
its accessory apparatus. The orbit has an outlet anterior, an apex posterior and four walls  the
roof, the floor, the lateral and the medial walls.

The outlet of the orbit is formed by the frontal bone, the zygomatic bone and the maxillary bone.
Its superior and inferior margins are called the supraorbital and infraorbital margins. Near the
medial end of the supraobital margin, there is a notch or foramen, the supraorbital notch or
foramen; below the lower margin is the infraorbital foramen. The apex of the orbit is just at the
optic canal; through the canal, the optic nerve 视神经 passes into the middle cranial fossa. The
superior wall or the roof of the orbit is formed by the frontal bone and the lesser wing of the
sphenoid bone. On its anterolateral part there is a shallow depression, called the lacrimal fossa 泪
腺窝, which marks the location of the lacrimal gland 泪腺. The lateral wall of the orbit is formed
mainly by the zygomatic bone and the greater wing of the sphenoid bone. Its posterior part is
bounded by a V-shaped slit. The superior limb of the slit is the superior orbital fissure. As you have
learned, the fissure is located between the greater and the lesser wings and through which, the orbit
communicates posteriorly with the middle cranial fossa. The inferior limb of the V-shaped slit is
called the inferior orbital fissure; through which the orbit communicates with the pterygopalatine
fossa. The inferior wall or the floor of the orbit is formed mainly by the maxillary bone. Along it
the infraorbital groove extends from the midpoint of the inferior orbital fissure to the infraorbital
canal that finally opens at the infraorbital foramen. The medial wall of the orbit is formed mainly
by the lacrimal bone and the lateral aspect of the ethmoid bone. Its anterior edge is indicated by the
fossa for lacrimal sac 泪囊窝 that continues inferiorly into the nasolacrimal canal 鼻泪管. The
canal opens to the nasal cavity.

Superior Lacrimal fossa


orbital
Anterior Aspect of Skull 颅的前面 fissure

2. The Orbit 眶
Supraorbital margin Supraorbital notch
Outlet 眶上缘 眶上切迹
眶口 Infraorbital margin Infraorbital foramen
眶下缘 眶下孔
Apex : Optic canal Middle cranial fossa
尖 视神经管 颅中窝
Roof 上壁: Lacrimal fossa 泪腺窝 Inferior Fossa for
orbital fissure lacrimal sac
Superior orbital fissure 眶上裂
Lateral wall 外侧壁
Inferior orbital fissure → Pterygopalatine fossa
眶下裂 翼腭窝
Floor: Infraorbital → Infraorbital → Infraorbital
下壁 groove 眶下沟 canal 眶下管 foramen 眶下孔
Medial wall: Fossa of lacrimal→Nasolacrimal→Nasal cavity
内侧壁 sac 泪囊窝 canal 鼻泪管 鼻腔

The bony nasal cavity


The bony nasal cavity is an irregular passage in the central part of the facial cranium. It opens
anteriorly at the piriform aperture 梨状孔 and posteriorly at the posterior nasal apertures. The
cavity is divided by the nasal septum 鼻中隔 into two parts, with each has a medial wall (the nasal
septum), a floor, a roof and a lateral wall.

The medial wall of the nasal cavity, the nasal septum, is formed superiorly by the perpendicular
plate of the ethmoid bone and inferiorly by the vomer. The floor is the hard palate that separates
the nasal cavity from the oral cavity. The roof is formed mainly by the cribriform plate of the
ethmoid bone. As you have learned before, the plate has numerous apertures, called the cribriform
foramina, through which the olfactory nerves pass from the nasal cavity into the anterior cranial
fossa. The lateral wall of the nasal cavity is irregular because of three curved projections, the
superior, middle and inferior nasal conchae. The conchae partly divide the nasal cavity into three
passages, the superior, middle and inferior nasal meatus 上、中、下鼻道. Behind the posterior end
of the superior concha, there is a narrow recess called the sphenoethmoidal recess 蝶筛隐窝. It
receives the opening of the sphenoidal sinus 蝶窦. A foramen behind the superior meatus is called
the sphenopalatine foramen; it opens to the pterygopalatine fossa. In the inferior nasal meatus
there is the opening of the nasolacrimal canal.

Anterior Aspect of Skull 颅的前面 Spheno- Sphenopalatine


ethmoidal Foramen
3. The bony nasal cavity 骨性鼻腔 Recess

Openings Piriform aperture 梨状孔


Posterior nasal apertures 鼻后孔
Nasal septum: Perpendicular plate+vomer
鼻中隔 of ethmoid 筛骨垂直板 犁骨
Floor 底: Bony palate 骨腭
Roof: Cribriform Cribriform → Anterior cranial
上壁 plate 筛板 foramina 筛孔 fossa 颅前窝
Lateral wall 外侧壁 Sphenoethmoidal recess 蝶筛隐窝
Superior nasal concha 上鼻甲 Sphenopalatine
Superior nasal meatus 上鼻道 Foramen 蝶腭孔
Middle nasal concha 中鼻甲
Middle nasal meatus 中鼻道
Inferior nasal concha 下鼻甲
Inferior nasal meatus 下鼻道
Nasolacrimal canal 鼻泪管

Paranasal sinuses
The paranasal sinuses 鼻旁窦 are the air-containing chambers inside the cranial bones surrounding
the nasal cavity. They include the frontal sinuses 额窦 , the maxillary sinuses 上颌窦 , the
ethmoidal sinuses 筛窦 and the sphenoidal sinuses 蝶窦.

The frontal sinuses are located inside the frontal bone above the supraorbital margin. They are
usually separated by a median septum. Each sinus opens into the anterior part of the middle nasal
meatus via a long and narrow canal..

The maxillary sinus is the biggest and lowest one in all paranasal sinuses. It is located inside the
body of the maxillary bone and opens into the middle nasal meatus at a crescent-shaped fissure
called the hiatus semilunaris 半月裂孔.

The ethmoidal sinuses are numerous small and air-containing cells in the lateral mass of the
ethmoid bone. They are divided into three groups; the anterior and the middle groups open into the
middle meatus and the posterior group, into the superior meatus of the nasal cavity.

Anterior Aspect of Skull 颅的前面


4. Paranasal sinuses 鼻旁窦
 Air-filled cavities within the cranial bones
surrounding the nasal cavity Ethmoidal sinus

Frontal sinus 额窦
Maxillary sinus 上颌窦 → Middle nasal
Ethmoidal sinus 筛窦 meatus中鼻道
Anterior group 前群
Middle group 中群
Posterior group 后群→ Superior nasal meatus 上鼻道
Sphenoidal sinus 蝶窦 Rob from frontal
↓ sinus to middle
Opening of posterior ethmoidal
sinuses
nasal meatus
Sphenoethmoidal Opening of phenoidal
sinus
recess 蝶筛隐窝
Opening of
An infection in nose Hiatus
anterior &
middle
ethmoidal
semilunaris
Nasosinusitis 鼻旁窦炎 sinuses
Opening of maxillary
Opening of
nasolacrimal canal sinus

The sphenoidal sinuses are located in the body of the sphenoid bone and separated by a median
septum. Each sinus opens directly into the sphenoethmoidal recess.

The nasal cavity and all paranasal sinuses are lined with a continuous mucus membrane. Therefore,
an infection in the nose sometimes invades the sinuses via their openings, leading to nasosinusitis
鼻旁窦炎.

Features of Infant Skull


z In comparison with the whole skeleton of the body, the infant skull is relatively larger.

z In comparison with the adult skull, the cerebral cranium of an infant skull is much larger than
the facial cranium

z The cranial bones in an infant skull are connected by fibrous membrane. Large membranous
areas in the junction sites of cranial bones are called the fontanelles 囟, for example, the
anterior fontanelle 前囟 at the bregma, the posterior fontanelle 后囟 at the lambda, the
shpenoidal 蝶囟 and the mastoid fontanelles 乳突囟 on each side. Among these, the anterior
fontanelle is the largest one and is usually ossified 骨化 before two years old. Therefore, a soft
bregma in a child after this age is an alert for acalcerosis 缺钙症.

Features of Infant Skull 新生儿颅的特征


1. In comparison with the adult skull
the cerebral cranium of an infant skull is
much larger than the facial cranium
2. The cranial bones in an infant skull
are connected by fibrous membrane
Fontanelle 囟  a large membranous
area between adjacent cranial bones
Anterior fontanelle 前囟
Posterior fontanelle
Posterior fontanelle 后囟
Sphenoidal fontanelles 蝶囟 Sphenoidal fontanelles
Mastoid fontanelles 乳突囟

A soft bregma in a child after age of 2


Acalcerosis 缺钙症
Anterior fontanelle Mastoid fontanelles

Song Jian (宋 健)