Cranial Fossae

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Neurocranium
Calvaria (flat, dome like roof) flat, curved sutures
Cranial base- irregular, some substantial flat portions
Viscerocranium
Comprised of 15 irregular bones
3 centrally- mandible, vomer, ethmoid
12 paired lateral bones
Meninges
Dura, arachnoid and pia
Fossae
Anterior, middle and posterior
Dural reflections
Falx cerebri
Tentorium cerebelli
Falx cerebelli
Diaphragma sella (not easily seen- covers location where pituitary gland is located)
Anterior cranial fossa
Bones: frontal, body and lesser wings of sphenoid, ethmoid
Frontal crest
Crist galli (upward projection of ethmoid bone)
Cribriform plate of ethmoid
Anterior/posterior ethmoid foramina
Middle cranial fossa
Bones: sella turcica of sphenoid, greater wings of sphenoid, superior border of petrous portion of temporal bone
Tubercullum sellae
Hypophyseal fossa
Dorsum sellae
Posterior clinoid processes
Posterior cranial fossa
Bones: occipital, sphenoid (dorsum sellae), clivus, petrous and mastoid portions of temporal bone
Internal occipital crest
Cerebellar fossae
Internal occipital protuberance
Largest/deepest fossa: contains cerebellum, pons, and medulla oblongata
Dural venous sinuses
Superior sagittal sinus
Inferior sagittal sinus
Straight sinus
Transverse sinus
Sigmoid sinus
Cavernous sinus
Superior and inferior petrosal sinuses
Emissary veins
Cerebral/extracerebral venous communication
Connect dural venous sinuses with veins outside of cranium, valve-less, blood flow usually away from brain but is bidirectional
Superior/inferior ophthalmic veins
Cerebral/extracerebral venous communication
Drain to cavernous sinus; have connections with veins of face around orbit
Pterygoid plexus of veins
Cerebral/extracerebral venous communication
Within infra temporal fossa have connections with the facial vein as well as the cavernous sinus via emissary veins
** spread of infections into cavernous sinus via pterygoid plexus
Cavernous sinus
Large venous plexus on each side of sella turcica
Receives blood from superior/inferior ophthalmic veins
Intercavernous sinus
Drains posteroinferiorly via superior/inferior petrosal sinuses and emissary veins to basilar and pterygoid plexuses
Contents within sinus: internal carotid artery, carotid sympathetic nerve plexus, abducent (CN VI)
Contents within lateral wall of sinus: oculomotor (CN III), Trochlear (CN IV), V1 and V2 (ophthalmic and maxillary)
Foramen magnum
Dura, arachnoid and pia
Medulla continuous with cord
CN XI
Vertebral arteries
Dural veins
Anterior/posterior spinal arteries
Jugular foramen
CN IX, CN X, CN XI
IJV
Internal acoustic meatus
CN VII, CN VIII
Hypoglossal canal
CN XII
Foramina of posterior cranial fossa
foramen magnum, jugular foramen, internal acoustic meatus, hypoglossal canal
Optic canal
Optic nerve and ophthalmic artery
Superior orbital fissure
Ophthalmic veins, V1, CN III, CN IV, CN VI and sympathetic nerve fibers
Foramen rotundum
V2
Foramen ovale
V3 and accessory meningeal artery
Foramen spinosum
middle meningeal artery
Foramina of middle cranial fossa
Optic canal
Superior orbital fissure
Foramen rotundum
Foramen ovale
Foramen spinosum
Pterygoid canal
Pterygoid canal
Deep petrosal nerve
Small meningeal aa. and vv.
Foramen lacerum
Artifact of the dry cranium; filled with cartilage in the living state
Carotid canal
Passes through skull base, contains internal carotid artery and carotid sympathetic nerve plexus
Foramina of anterior cranial fossa
Foramen cecum
Foramina of cribriform plate
Anterior ethmoidal foramina
Posterior ethmoidal foramina
Foramen cecum
Non patent- unimportant post natally
Foramina of cribriform plate
CN I (olfactory nerves)
Anterior ethmoidal foramina
Anterior ethmoidal nerve, artery and vein
Posterior ethmoidal foramina
Posterior ethmoidal nerve, artery and vein
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