Structures Passing through Foramina of Skull

Foramen: An Opening or Orifice in the skeleton through which structures like Nerves, Arteries, Veins, Muscles and Ligaments pass. There are multiple such foramens on the lower aspect of the skull which act as pathways for the various structures which pass through them. The Cranium is divided into three parts – Anterior Cranial Fossa, Middle Cranial Fossa and Posterior Cranial Fossa through which various structures (Arteries, Veins and Nerves) pass

So here we have listed out the various Foramens seen in the skull and the structures passing through them separately. There are many Foramen small and big which have structures passing through them and we have listed most of the major and important Foramen in the base of skull and the structures passing through them.

Structures passing trough Foramen of skull

Click on the images for a larger Picture

Contents Passing through Foramen of Skull:

Foramen Magnum:

  • Medulla Oblangata or Spinal Cord
  • Vertebral Arteries
  • Spinal Accessory nerve
  • Apical Ligament of Dens
  • Membrana Tectoria

Mandibular Foramen:

  • Inferior Alveolar Nerve
  • Inferior Alveolar Artery
  • Inferior Alveolar Vein

Mental Foramen:

  • Mental Artery
  • Mental Vein
  • Mental Nerve

Parietal Foramen:

  • Emissary Vein from superior sagittal sinus

Mastoid Foramen:

  • Emissary Vein to Sigmoid sinus
  • Meningeal branch of occipital artery   

Foramen Cecum:

  • Emissary Vein

Greater Palatine Foramen:

  • Greater palatine Artery
  • Greater Palatine Vein
  • Anterior Palatine Nerve

Lesser Palatine Foramen:

  • Lesser Palatine Artery
  • Lesser Palatine Vein
  • Middle and Posterior Palatine Nerves

Incisive Canal:

  • Nasopalatine Nerve
  • Greater Palatine vessels

Supra Orbital Foramen:

  • Supra orbital Nerve
  • Supra orbital Artery
  • Supra orbital Vein

Superior Orbital Fisure:

  • Oculomotor Nerve
  • Trochlear Nerve
    Abducens Nerve
  • Trigeminal nerve (V3)
  • Superior Opthalmic Vein
  • lacrimal, frontal and nasociliary branches of ophthalmic (V1).

Inferior Orbital Fissure:

  • Infra Orbital vessels
  • Ascending branches of Sphenopalatine ganglion
  • Zygomatic Nerve

Foramen Rotundum:

  • Maxillary Nerve (V2)

Foramen Ovale:

  •  Mandibular Nerve (V3)
  • Lesser Petrosal Nerve
  • Accessory Meningeal Artery

Foramen Spinosum:

  • Middle Meningeal Artery
  • Middle Meningeal Vein
  • Nervous Spinosus

Foramen Lacerum:

  • Greater and Deep Petrosal Nerves to form nerve of pterygoid canal
  • Meningeal branch of ascending pharyngeal artery
  • Internal carotid Artery with Venous and Sympathetic Plexus

Stylomastoid Foramen:

  • Facial Nerve
  • Posterior Auricular Artery (Stylomastoid branch)

Zygomaticotemporal Foramen:

  • Zygomaticotemporal Nerve
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