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List of foramina of the human body

  (Redirected from Foramina of the skull)

This page lists foramina that occur in the human body.



Image of base of the skull with several of the foramina labeled

The human skull has numerous openings (foramina), through which cranial nerves, arteries, veins, and other structures pass. These foramina vary in size and number, with age.[1][2]

Bone Cranial fossa Foramina Number Vessels Nerves
frontal - supraorbital foramen 2 supraorbital artery supraorbital vein supraorbital nerve
frontal anterior cranial fossa foramen cecum 1 emissary veins to superior sagittal sinus from the upper part of the nose[3]
ethmoid anterior cranial fossa (osama) foramina of cribriform plate ~20 - olfactory nerve bundles (I)
ethmoid anterior cranial fossa anterior ethmoidal foramen 2 anterior ethmoidal artery
anterior ethmoidal vein
anterior ethmoidal nerve
ethmoid anterior cranial fossa posterior ethmoidal foramen 2 posterior ethmoidal artery
posterior ethmoidal vein
posterior ethmoidal nerve
sphenoid - optic canal 2 ophthalmic artery optic nerve (II)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa superior orbital fissure 2 superior ophthalmic vein oculomotor nerve (III)
trochlear nerve (IV)
lacrimal, frontal and nasociliary branches of ophthalmic nerve (V1)
abducent nerve (VI)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen rotundum 2 - maxillary nerve (V2)
maxilla - incisive foramen/canal/Stenson/Scarpa 4 terminal branch of palatine descendens artery Terminal part of[3] nasopalatine nerve (V2)
palatine - greater palatine foramen 2 greater palatine artery
greater palatine vein
greater palatine nerve
palatine and sphenoid - foramen sphenopalatinum 2 sphenopalatina artery
sphenopalatina vein
nasopalatine nerve
rami nasales posteriores superiores (V2)
palatine and maxilla - lesser palatine foramina 4 lesser palatine artery
lesser palatine vein
lesser palatine nerve, greater palatine nerve[3]
sphenoid and maxilla - inferior orbital fissure 2 inferior ophthalmic veins
infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein, tributary of pterygoid plexus
zygomatic nerve and infraorbital nerve of maxillary nerve (V2)
orbital branches of pterygopalatine ganglion
maxilla - infraorbital foramen 2 infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein, tributary of pterygoid plexus
infraorbital nerve
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen ovale 2 accessory meningeal artery, emissary vein connecting cavernous sinus with pterygoid plexus mandibular nerve (V3)
lesser petrosal nerve (occasionally)[3]
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen spinosum 2 middle meningeal artery meningeal branch of the mandibular nerve (V3)
sphenoid middle cranial fossa foramen lacerum 2 artery of pterygoid canal, Meningeal branch of ascending pharyngeal artery, emissary vein nerve of pterygoid canal through its anterior wall
temporal middle cranial fossa carotid canal 2 internal carotid artery internal carotid plexus, sympathetics from the superior cervical ganglion
temporal posterior cranial fossa internal acoustic meatus 2 labyrinthine artery facial nerve (VII), vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII)
temporal posterior cranial fossa jugular foramen 2 internal jugular vein, inferior petrosal sinus, sigmoid sinus glossopharyngeal nerve (IX), vagus nerve (X), accessory nerve (XI)
temporal posterior cranial fossa stylomastoid foramen 2 stylomastoid artery facial nerve (VII)
occipital posterior cranial fossa hypoglossal canal 2 - hypoglossal nerve (XII)
occipital posterior cranial fossa foramen magnum 1 anterior and posterior spinal arteries, vertebral arteries lowest part of medulla oblongata, three meninges, ascending spinal fibers of accessory nerve (XI)[3]
occipital posterior cranial fossa condylar canal 1 occipital emissary vein, meningeal branch of occipital artery


Within the vertebral column (spine) of vertebrates, including the human spine, each bone has an opening at both its top and bottom to allow nerves, arteries, veins, etc. to pass through.



  1. ^ Kalmey JK1, ThewissenJG, Dluzen DE (July 1998). "Age-related size reduction of foramina in the cribriform plate". Anat. Rec. 251 (3): 326–9.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. ^ Patron V, Berkaoui J, Jankowski R, Lechapt-Zalcman E, Moreau S, Hitier M (Sep 2015). "The forgotten foramina: a study of the anterior cribriform plate". Surg Radiol Anat. 37 (7): 835–40.
  3. ^ a b c d e Chaurasia, BD (2013). BD Chaurasia's Human Anatomy Volume 3. New Delhi: CBS Publishers and Distributors PVT Ltd. pp. 56–57. ISBN 9788123923321.