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• The skull consists of a number of separate bones united at immobile joints called sutures.
• The connective tissue between the bones is called a sutural ligament.
• The skull bones are made up of external and internal tables of compact bone, separated by a layer
of spongy bone called the diploe.
The internal table is thinner and more brittle than the external table.
• The bones are covered on the outer and inner surfaces with periosteum
the outer layer is referred to as the pericranium
the inner covering, as the endocranium.
• The vault is the upper part of the cranium
• The base of the skull is the lower part of the
• The cranium consists of the following bones,
1. Frontal bone
2. Parietal bones
3. Occipital bone
4. Temporal bones
5. Sphenoid bone
6. Ethmoid bone
• The facial bones consist of the following,
1. Zygomatic bones
3. Nasal bones
4. Lacrimal bones
6. Palatine bones
7. Inferior conchae
• The bones of the skull may be divided into those of the cranium and those of the face.
• The frontal bone the upper margins of the orbits.
• Medially, the frontal bone articulates with the
frontal processes of the maxillae and with the
• Laterally, articulates with the zygomatic bone.
• The orbital margins are bounded by the
1. Superiorly frontal bone
2. Laterally the zygomatic bone
3. inferiorly The maxilla
4. medially The processes of the maxilla and
• Within the frontal bone there are two hollow
spaces called the frontal air sinuses.
• The two nasal bones form the bridge of the
• Their lower borders, with the maxillae, make
the anterior nasal aperture.
• The nasal cavity is divided into two parts by the
bony nasal septum, which is largely formed by
• The superior and middle conchae jut into the
nasal cavity from the ethmoid on each side
The inferior conchae are separate bones.
• The two maxillae form the
1. upper jaw
2. the anterior part of the hard palate
3. part of the lateral walls of the nasal cavities
4. part of the floors of the orbital cavities.
• These two bones meet in the midline at the
intermaxillary suture and form the lower margin
of the nasal aperture
• The infraorbital foramen perforates the maxilla
below the orbit.
• The alveolar process projects downward and,
together with the fellow of the opposite side,
forms the alveolar arch, which carries the upper
• Within each maxilla is a large pyramid-shaped
cavity lined with mucous membrane, the
• THE ZYGOMATIC BONE
• forms the prominence of the cheek and part of the
lateral wall and floor of the orbital cavity.
• Medially, it articulates with the zygomatic process of
the temporal bone to form the zygomatic arch.
• The zygomatic bone is perforated by two foramina
for the zygomaticofacial and zygomaticotemporal
• THE MANDIBLE or lower jaw ,
• consists of a horizontal body and two vertical rami
• The body joins the ramus at the angle of the
• The mental foramen opens onto the anterior
surface of the body of the mandible, below the
second premolar tooth.
• The upper border of the mandible, the alveolar part,
carries the lower teeth.
• The frontal bone forms the anterior part of the side
of the skull and articulates with the parietal bone at
the coronal suture .
• The parietal bones form the sides and roof of the
cranium and articulate with each other in the
midline at the sagittal suture. They articulate with
the occipital bone behind, at the lambdoid suture.
• The skull is completed from the side by the
1. squamous part of the occipital bone
2. parts of the temporal bone, namely, the
squamous, tympanic, mastoid process, styloid
3. zygomatic process
4. the greater wing of the sphenoid.
5. The ramus and body of the mandible lie inferiorly.
• Pterion is the thinnest part of the lateral wall of
At pterion the anteroinferior corner of the
parietal bone articulates with the greater wing of
On the outer surface of the skull, the
pterion lies about 1 inch behind the frontal process
of the zygomatic bone and about 1.5 inches above
the zygomatic arch.
Clinically, the pterion is a very important
area, because it overlies the anterior division of
the middle meningeal artery and vein.
• The temporal fossa lies below the temporal lines.
The lower limit of the temporal fossa is the
infratemporal crest of the greater wing of the
sphenoid, which is level with the upper border of the
The infratemporal fossa lies below the
infratemporal crest on the greater wing of the
• The pterygomaxillary fissure is a vertical fissure
that lies within the fossa between the pterygoid
process of the sphenoid bone and back of the
maxilla. It leads medially into the pterygopalatine
• The inferior orbital fissure is a horizontal fissure between the greater
wing of the sphenoid bone and the maxilla. It leads forward into the
• The pterygopalatine fossa is a small space behind
and below the orbital cavity. It communicates
1. Laterally with the infratemporal fossa
through the pterygomaxillary fissure,
2. Medially with the nasal cavity through the
3. Superiorly with the skull through the foramen
4. Anteriorly with the orbit through the inferior
• The posterior parts of the two parietal bones with
the intervening sagittal suture are seen above.
• Below, the parietal bones articulate with the
squamous part of the occipital bone at the
• On each side the occipital bone articulates with
the temporal bone. In the midline of the occipital
bone is a roughened elevation called the external
occipital protuberance, which gives attachment to
muscles and to the ligamentum nuchae.
• On either side of the protuberance the superior
nuchal lines extend laterally toward the temporal
the frontal bone articulates with
the two parietal bones at the coronal
the two parietal bones articulate in
the midline at the sagittal suture.
Occasionally, the two halves of the frontal bone fail to fuse,
leaving a midline metopic suture.
• If the mandible is discarded,
the anterior part of this aspect of the
skull is seen to be formed by the hard palate.
The palatal processes of the maxillae and the
horizontal plates of the palatine bones can be
• In the midline
anteriorly are the incisive fossa and
Posterolaterally are the greater and
lesser palatine foramina
• Above the posterior edge of the hard
palate are the choanae (posterior nasal
• These are separated from each other by
the posterior margin of the vomer and are
bounded laterally by the medial pterygoid
plates of the sphenoid bone.
• Posterolateral to the lateral pterygoid plate,
• the large foramen ovale
• the small foramen spinosum pierce the greater
wing of the sphenoid.
• Posterolateral to the foramen spinosum is the
spine of the sphenoid.
• The medial end of the petrous part of the
temporal bone is irregular and, together with
the basilar part of the occipital bone and the
greater wing of the sphenoid, forms the
• In the interval between the styloid and
mastoid processes, the stylomastoid
foramen can be seen.
• Medial to the styloid process, the
petrous part of the temporal bone has a
deep notch, which, together with a
shallower notch on the occipital bone,
forms the jugular foramen
• Behind the posterior apertures of the nose
and in front of the foramen magnum are the
sphenoid bone and the basilar part of the
• The occipital condyles should be identified;
they articulate with the superior aspect of the
lateral mass of the atlas.
• Posterior to the foramen magnum is the
external occipital protuberance
Vault Of The Skull
• The internal surface ofthe vault shows the
coronal, sagittal, and lambdoid sutures.
• In the midline a shallow sagittal groove
lodges the superior sagittal sinus. On each
side of this groove are a number of small
pits, called granular pits, which lodge the
lateral lacunae and arachnoid granulations.
• A number of narrow grooves are present for
the anterior and posterior divisions of the
middle meningeal vessels as they pass up
the side of the skull to the vault.
Anterior Cranial Fossa
• The anterior cranial fossa lodges the frontal lobes of
the cerebral hemispheres.
• It is bounded anteriorly by the inner surface of the
• Its posterior boundary is the sharp lesser wing of the
sphenoid, which articulates laterally with the frontal
bone and meets the anterior inferior angle of the
parietal bone (pterion).
The medial end of the lesser wing of the
sphenoid forms the anterior clinoid process on each
side, to give attachment to the tentorium cerebelli.
The median part of the anterior cranial fossa is
limited posteriorly by the groove for the optic
• The floor of the fossa is formed by the ridged
orbital plates of the frontal bone laterally and by
the cribriform plate of the ethmoid medially.
• The crista galli is a sharp upward projection of the
ethmoid bone in the midline, for the attachment of
the falx cerebri.
Alongside the crista galli is a narrow slit in
the cribriform plate for the passage of the anterior
ethmoidal nerve into the nasal cavity.
Middle Cranial Fossa
• The middle cranial fossa consists of
1. small median part (The body of the sphenoid)
2. expanded lateral parts
form concavities on either side, lodging the
temporal lobes of the cerebral hemispheres.
• The middle cranial fossa is bounded
anteriorly by the lesser wings of the
posteriorly by the superior borders of the
petrous parts of the temporal bones.
Laterally lie the squamous parts of the
temporal bones, the greater wings of the sphenoid,
and the parietal bones.
The floor of each lateral part of the middle
cranial fossa is formed by the greater wing of the
sphenoid and the squamous and petrous parts of the
1. The optic canal transmits the optic nerve and the
2. The superior orbital fissure,between the lesser
and greater wings of the sphenoid, transmits the
lacrimal, frontal, trochlear, oculomotor,
nasociliary, and abducent nerves, together with
the superior ophthalmic vein.
3. The sphenoparietal venous sinus runs medially
along the posterior border of the lesser wing of
the sphenoid and drains into the cavernous sinus
4. The foramen rotundum,perforates the greater
wing of the sphenoid and transmits the maxillary
5. The foramen ovale , It perforates the greater
wing of the sphenoid and transmits the large
sensory root and small motor root of the
mandibular nerve to the infratemporal fossa
6. The small foramen, perforates the greater wing
of the sphenoid, transmits the middle meningeal
artery from the infratemporal fossa into the
7. foramen lacerum lies between the apex of the petrous
part of the temporal bone and the sphenoid bone
8. The carotid canal opens into the side of the foramen
lacerum. The internal carotid artery enters the foramen
through the carotid canal
9. . The anterior surface of the petrous bone has two
grooves for nerves
the larger, medial groove is for the greater petrosal
nerve, a branch of the facial nerve
the smaller, lateral groove is for the lesser petrosal
nerve, a branch of the tympanic plexus.
• The median part of the middle cranial fossa is
formed by the body of the sphenoid bone.
• In front is the sulcus chiasmatis, which is related to
the optic chiasma and leads laterally to the optic
canal on each side.
• Posterior to the sulcus is an elevation, the
Behind this elevation is a deep depression,
the sella turcica, that lodges the hypophysis cerebri.
The sella turcica is bounded posteriorly by a
square plate of bone called the dorsum sellae.
The superior angles of the dorsum sellae
have two tubercles, called the posterior clinoid
processes, which give attachment to the fixed margin
ofthe tentorium cerebelli.
The cavernous sinus is directly related to the side
of the body of the sphenoid.
Posterior Cranial Fossa
• The posterior cranial fossa is very deep and lodges
the parts of the hindbrain, namely, the cerebellum,
pons, and medulla oblongata.
Anteriorly, the fossa is bounded by the superior
border of the petrous part of the temporal bone
posteriorly, by the internal surface of the
squamous part of the occipital bone.
The floor of the posterior fossa is formed by the
basilar, condylar, and squamous parts ofthe
occipital bone and the mastoid part of the
The roof of the fossa is formed by a fold of dura,
the tentorium cerebelli.
• The foramen magnum occupies the central area of
the floor and transmits the medulla oblongata and
its surrounding meninges, the ascending spinal
parts of the accessory nerves, and the two
1. The hypoglossal canal, transmits the
2. The jugular foramen It transmits the
following structures from front to back:
a) the inferior petrosal sinus
b) the ninth, tenth, and eleventh cranial nerves
c) The large sigmoid sinus.
3. The internal acoustic meatus. It transmits
the vestibulocochlear nerve and the motor
and sensory roots of the facial nerve.
4. The internal occipital crest to it is attached
the small falx cerebelli over the occipital
5. On each side of the internal occipital
protuberance there is a wide groove for the
transverse sinus , when it reaches the
mastoid part of temporal bone it becomes
(sigmoid sinus )
Dura Mater Of The Brain
The Endosteal Layer
• Is nothing more than the ordinary periosteum
covering the inner surface of the skull bones.
It does not extend through the foramen
magnum to become continuous with the dura
mater of the spinal cord.
• Around the margins of all the foramina in the
skull it becomes continuous with the
periosteum on the outside of the skull bones.
• At the sutures it is continuous with the sutural
The Meningeal Layer
• is the dura mater proper.
• A dense, strong fibrous membrane covering the
It is continuous through the foramen magnum
with the dura mater of the spinal cord.
• It provides tubular sheaths for the cranial
nerves as the latter pass through the foramina
in the skull. Outside the skull the sheaths fuse
with the epineurium of the nerves.
• The meningeal layer sends inward four septa,
which divide the cranial cavity into freely
communicating spaces lodging the subdivisions
of the brain.
The function of these septa is to restrict
rotatory displacement of the brain.
They are closely united
except along certain lines,
where they separate to form
The Falx Cerebri
• is a sickle-shaped fold of dura mater that lies
in the midline between the two cerebral
• Its narrow end in front is attached to the
internal frontal crest and the crista galli. Its
broad posterior part blends in the midline
with the upper surface of the tentorium
• The superior sagittal sinus runs in its upper
• the inferior sagittal sinus runs in its lower
concave free margin
• The straight sinus runs along its attachment to
the tentorium cere belli.
The Tentorium Cerebelli
• Is a crescent shaped fold of dura mater that
roofs over the posterior cranial fossa.
• It covers the upper surface of the cerebellum
and supports the occipital lobes of the
• In front there is a gap, the tentorial notch, for
the passage of the midbrain,thus producing an
inner free border and an outer attached or
The fixed border is attached to the
posterior clinoid processes, the superior borders
of the petrous bones, and the margins of the
grooves for the transverse sinuses on the
The free border runs forward at its two
ends, crosses the attached border, and is affixed
to the anterior c!inoid process on each side.
At the point where the two borders cross, the
third and fourth cranial nerves pass forward to
enter the lateral wall of the cavernous sinus.
Dural Nerve Supply
• Branches of the trigeminal, the vagus, and the
first three cervical nerves and branches from
the sympathetic system pass to the dura.
• The dura possesses numerous sensory endings.
The dura is sensitive to stretching, which
produces the sensation of headache.
• Stimulation of the sensory endings of the
trigeminal nerve above the level of the
tentorium cerebelli produces referred pain to
an area of skin on the same side of the head.
• Stimulation of the dural endings below the
level of the tentorium produces referred pain
to the back of the neck and the back of the
scalp along the distribution of the greater
Dural Arterial Supply
• Numerous arteries supply the dura mater from the
internal carotid, maxillary, ascending pharyngeal,
occipital, and vertebral arteries.
• From the clinical standpoint, the most important of
these arteries is the middle meningeal artery, which
is commonly damaged in head injuries.
• The meningeal veins lie in the endosteal layer of
• The middle meningeal vein follows the branches of
the middle meningeal artery and drains into the
pterygoid venous plexus or the sphenoparietal
Arachnoid Mater of the Brain
• The arachnoid mater is a delicate, impermeable
membrane covering the brain and lying between the
pia mater internally and the dura mater externally.
• It is separated from the dura by a potential space,
the subdural space, and from the pia by the
subarachnoid space, which is filled with
• The arachnoid bridges over the sulci on the surface
of the brain, and in certain situations the arachnoid
and pia are widely separated to form the
• All the cisternae are in free communication with
each other and with the remainder of the
• In certain areas the arachnoid projects into the
venous sinuses to form arachnoid villi. The arachnoid
villi are most numerous along the superior sagittal
sinus. Aggregations of arachnoid villi are referred to
as arachnoid granulations.
• The arachnoid is connected to the pia mater across
the fluid-filled subarachnoid space by delicate
strands of fibrous tissue.
It is important to remember that structures passing
to and from the brain to the skull or its foramina
must pass through the subarachnoid space.
• All the cerebral arteries and veins lie in this space,
as do the cranial nerves.
• The arachnoid fuses with the epineurium of the
nerves at their point of exit from the skull.
• For the optic nerve, the arachnoid forms a sheath
that extends into the orbital cavity through the
optic canal and fuses with the sclera of the eyeball.
Thus, the subarachnoid space extends around the
optic nerve as far as the eyeball.
Pia Mater Of The Brain
• The pia mater is a vascular membrane that
closely invests the brain, covering the gyri
and descending into the deepest sulci.
• It extends over the cranial nerves and fuses
with their epineurium.
• The cerebral arteries entering the substance
of the brain carry a sheath of pia with them.
• The pia mater forms the tela choroidea of the
roof of the brain's third and fourth ventricles,
and it fuses with the ependyma (the thin
membrane of glial cells lining the ventricles of the
brain) to form the choroid plexuses in the
brain's lateral, third, and fourth ventricles.
The Venous Blood Sinuses
• The venous sinuses of the cranial cavity are situated
between the layers ofthe dura mater.
• They are lined with endothelium, and their walls are
devoid of muscular tissue.
• They contain no valves.
• They receive tributaries from
a) various parts of the brain
b) The diploe
c) The orbit
d) The internal ear.
• The superior sagittal sinus occupies the upper fixed
border of the falx cerebri.
• The superior sagittal sinus receives in its course the
superior cerebral veins.
• At the internal occipital protuberance it is dilated to
form the confluence of the sinuses
• The inferior sagittal sinus occupies the free lower
margin of the falx cerebri. It receives a few cerebral
veins from the medial surface of the cerebral
• The straight sinus occupies the line of junction of the
falx cerebri with the tentorium cere belli.lt is formed
by the union of the inferior sagittal sinus with the great
cerebral vein. It ends by turning to the left (sometimes
to the right), to form the transverse sinus.
• The transverse sinuses are paired structures that begin
at the internal occipital protuberance. The
right sinus is usually continuous with the
superior sagittal sinus
the left, continuous with the straight sinus
• it receive the superior petrosal sinuses, inferior
cerebral and cerebellar veins, and diploic veins.
• Then end by turning downward as the sigmoid sinuses.
• The occipital sinus is a small sinus occupying the
attached margin of the falx cerebelli. It
communicates with the vertebral veins and drains
into the confluence of sinuses.
• The cavernous sinuses are situated in the middle
cranial fossa on each side of the body of the
sphenoid bone. Numerous trabeculae cross their
interior, giving them a spongy appearance. Each
sinus extends from the superior orbital fissure in
front to the apex of the petrous part of the
temporal bone behind.
• The sinus drains
posteriorly into the superior and inferior
inferiorly into the pterygoid venous plexus.
• The two sinuses communicate with each other by
means of the anterior and posterior
intercavernous sinuses, which run in the
diaphragma sellae in front and behind the stalk of
the hypophysis cerebri.
• The superior and inferior petrosal sinuses are
small sinuses situated on the superior and
inferior borders of the petrous part of the
temporal bone on each side.
• Each superior sinus drains the cavernous
sinus into the transverse sinus.
• each inferior sinus drains the cavernous sinus
into the internal jugular vein.
Development Of The Skull
• The skull consists of
1) protective case around the brain
2) the neurocranium
3) the skeleton of the jaws.
• Initially, these parts are represented by a
sheet of condensed mesenchyme that later
may become converted into membrane,
bone, or cartilage. In some areas the cartilage
undergoes endochondral ossification, while in
others it persists as cartilage throughout life.
The neurocranium may be divided into the
cartilaginous part and the membranous part.
• The cartilaginous neurocranium is the basal region
of the developing skull.
By the middle of the third month of prenatal
life, the base of the skull is a unified mass of cartilage
known as the chondrocranium. Ossification of the
chondrocranium begins early in the third month.
• The membranous neurocranium ultimately forms
the large, flat bones of the vault of the skull,
namely, the frontals, parietals, squamous portion of
the occipital, and the squamous temporal.
the smaller bones, the lacrimals and nasals.
Thus, the bones that form the greater part of the
sides and roof of the skull are intramembranous in
The Neonatal Skull
1. the neonatal skull shows a dispropor-
tionately large size of the cranium
relative to the face
2. In childhood, the growth ofthe
mandible, the maxillary sinuses, and
the alveolar processes of the maxillae
results in greatly increased facial length.
3. The bones of the skull are smooth and
unilaminar, there being no diploe
4. The bones of the vault are not closely
knit at the sutures
but are separated by unossified
membranous intervals called fontanelles
5. The mandible has right and left halves
at birth, united in the midline with
fibrous tissue. The two halves fuse at
the symphysis menti by the end of the
6. The angle of the mandible at birth is
obtuse , It is only after eruption of the
permanent teeth that the angle of the
mandible assumes the adult shape
7. In the newborn the mastoid process is
not developed, and the facial nerve, as
it emerges from the stylomastoid
foramen, is very close to the surface
and thus may be damaged by forceps in
a difficult delivery.
Common Congenital Anomalies
• Parietal Foramina in which symmetric
foramina occur in the parietal bones.
• Ocular Hypertelorism, the eyes are widely
separated because of overgrowth of the
lesser wing of the sphenoid.
• the vault of the skull is
• This anomaly is usually
• Occasionally it is combined
with an open vertebral
• The head is asymmetric in
because of irregular fusion of
the cranial bones.
• This condition may be caused
by excessive pressure on one
part of the developing skull in
• however, it is not caused by
the molding that normally
occurs during labor.
• The child develops perfectly
normally, but the irregular
shape of the skull persists.
• means premature fusion of some
of the cranial sutures.
• If the sagittal suture is involved,
the skull becomes elongated in
• If the coronal suture fuses early,
the skull becomes turret-shaped
because of the pushing upward
of the parietal and frontal bones.
• This condition may lead to a rise
in the cerebrospinal fluid
pressure, which in turn may lead
to mental retardation.
Decompression of the skull by
craniectomy, leaving the dura
mater intact, may be required.
• The straight posteroanterior (PA) view of the skull.
1. The different parts of the vault of the skull are
visible, as are the sagittal, coronal, and
2. The frontal sinuses,
3. the upper and lower margins of the orbit,
4. the nasal septum and the conchae,
5. the maxillary sinuses, and the maxillary teeth
can be identified.
6. The rami and body of the mandible are easily
7. The sphenoidal and ethmoidal air sinuses
produce a composite shadow.
• Unfortunately, in this position the petrous parts of
the temporal bones are superimposed on the
lower halves of the orbits
For visualization of paranasal sinus the x-ray tube shoud be tilted
• The lateral view of the skull
• is taken with the sagittal plane of the skull parallel with
the film cassette. The X-ray tube is centered over the
region of the sella turcica.
• The coronal, and lambdoid sutures can be recognized.
• The inner and outer tables of the skull bones and the
intervening diploe can be seen
a) the frontal air sinuses appear clearly superimposed
on each other.
b) Behind them the two orbital plates of the frontal
bones, which form the roofs of the orbits, can be
c) Behind these are the lesser wings of the sphenoid,
the anterior clinoid processes, and the sella turcica.
d) The curved lines of the greater wings of the
sphenoid and the sphenoidal air sinuses should also
• The nasal bones, the cribriform plate, the hard palate,
the maxillary air sinus, and the teeth of the upper and
lower jaws can all be seen. The ramus and body of the
mandible, and the upper part of the cervical vertebral
column should be identified.
• is commonly used for the detection of
• The technique is safe for the patient and
provides highly accurate information.
• CT relies on the physics, in that structures
are distinguished from one another by
their ability to absorb energy from X-rays.
The procedure is quick, lasting only a few
seconds for each slice, and most patients
require no sedation.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
• MRI is absolutely safe to the patient
Because it provides better
differentiation between different soft
tissues, it can be more revealing than
• The reason for this is that some
tissues contain more hydrogen in the
form of water than do other tissues.
technique : uses the magnetic properties of the
hydrogen nucleus excited by radiofrequency
radiation transmitted by a coil surrounding the