Foramen ovale (skull)

Last revised by Dr Patrick J Rock on 14 Dec 2020

Foramen ovale (plural: foramina ovalia) is an oval shaped opening in the middle cranial fossa located at the posterior base of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone, lateral to the lingula. It transmits the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve (CN V3), accessory meningeal artery, emissary veins between the cavernous sinuses and pterygoid plexus, otic ganglion, and occasionally the nervus spinosus and lesser petrosal nerve (see: mnemonic).

Variant anatomy

A study of 100 cadaveric skulls found it divided into two or three compartments in 4.5% of the cohort 2.

See also

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: inferior view
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  • Figure 2: superior view
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  • Case 1
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