Foramen lacerum

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Prashant Mudgal et al.

The foramen lacerum is a triangular opening located in the middle cranial fossa anterior to the petrous apex, which forms its posterior border. Its anterior border is formed by the body of the sphenoid bone at the junction of greater wing and pterygoid process and medial border is formed by the basilar part of the occipital bone. It measures approximately 9 mm in length and 7 mm in breadth.

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 and leaves anteriorly as the nerve of the pterygoid canal.

Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

rID: 28231
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Skull base inferi...
    Figure 1: inferior view
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  • Skull base superi...
    Figure 2: superior view
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