Foramen lacerum

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 02 Jan 2020

The foramen lacerum (plural: foramina lacera) is a triangular opening located in the middle cranial fossa formed by the continuation of the petrosphenoidal and petroclival fissures. Thus, it is a gap between bones, alternatively termed the sphenopetro­clival synchondrosis, rather than a true foramen within a bone 2.

Gross anatomy

The foramen lacerum is filled with connective tissue and transmits the small meningeal branches of the ascending pharyngeal artery and emissary veins from the cavernous sinus to the pterygoid venous plexus. The internal carotid artery passes along its superior surface but does not traverse it. The greater petrosal nerve enters from the posterolateral aspect, joins with the deep petrosal nerve, and leaves anteriorly as the nerve of the pterygoid canal. ​

It measures approximately 9 mm in length and 7 mm in breadth.

Relations and/or Boundaries

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: inferior view
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Figure 2: superior view
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.