Foramen cecum (skull)

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 13 Nov 2022

The foramen cecum of the anterior cranial fossa represents a primitive tract into the nasal space. It is located along the anterior cranial fossa, anterior to the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone and posterior to the frontal bone, within the frontoethmoidal suture. It lies at a variable distance anterior to the crista galli.

During embryologic development, the foramen cecum contains a dural diverticulum that extends from the anterior cranial fossa to the dermal surface of the nose. Normally, the dural diverticulum undergoes complete involution and the foramen cecum fills in with fibrous tissue and variably ossifies 2.

Ossification of the anterior cranial fossa and crista galli is usually incomplete at birth and progresses through the first few years of life 2. Thus, the foramen cecum is frequently found in infants, uncommonly in children, and rarely in adults where <1.5% of foramina remain open. When the tract does remain patent, it transmits an emissary vein which connects nasal veins to the superior sagittal sinus 2.

A variety of midline nasal pathologies may occur along with this transient embryologic communication 3:

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