Citation, DOI and article data
The petro-occipital or petroclival fissures, synchondroses, or sutures are the paired articulations between the lateral surface of the basilar part of the occipital bone (basiocciput, part of the clivus) and the posterior and medial surfaces of the petrous apex of the temporal bones.
Fissure is the most common term in the anatomical and radiological literature for this petro-occipital articulation 1,2,5,8, but synchondrosis is sometimes used as well 3,4,8. Both terms appear in the Terminologia Anatomica. Synchondrosis implies a primary cartilaginous joint (here part of the chondrocranium) that usually ossifies during development. However, this structure very slowly ossifies well into late adulthood and is not entirely cartilaginous in adults, but rather a mix of dense connective tissue and cartilage 4. The term petro-occipital suture thus also appears in the literature, implying a fibrous union, but this usage is less common 1,6,7. "Fissure" may be preferable as a physical descriptor of a gap between bones, avoiding implications on the histological composition or developmental mechanism.
It is a skull base landmark located in the anterior portion of the posterior cranial fossa.
Relations and boundaries
- anterior: foramen lacerum
- medial: basilar part of the occipital bone
- lateral: petrous temporal bone
- posterior: jugular foramen
The fissure is clinically important as it is often associated with skeletal myxoid chondrosarcomas of the skull base (~66% of cranial base chondrosarcomas) 5.
- 1. Mancall EL, Brock DG. Gray's Clinical Neuroanatomy. Elsevier Health Sciences. (2011) ISBN:1437735800. Read it at Google Books - Find it at Amazon
- 2. Laine FJ, Nadel L, Braun IF. CT and MR imaging of the central skull base. Part 1: Techniques, embryologic development, and anatomy. (1990) Radiographics : a review publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. 10 (4): 591-602. doi:10.1148/radiographics.10.4.2198631 - Pubmed
- 3. Balboni AL, Estenson TL, Reidenberg JS et-al. Assessing age-related ossification of the petro-occipital fissure: laying the foundation for understanding the clinicopathologies of the cranial base. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol. 2005;282 (1): 38-48. doi:10.1002/ar.a.20149 - Free text at pubmed - Pubmed citation
- 4. Madeline LA, Elster AD. Suture closure in the human chondrocranium: CT assessment. (1995) Radiology. 196 (3): 747-56. doi:10.1148/radiology.196.3.7644639 - Pubmed
- 5. Standring S. Gray's Anatomy. (2015) ISBN: 9780702052309
- 6. Grandis JR, Curtin HD, Yu VL. Necrotizing (malignant) external otitis: prospective comparison of CT and MR imaging in diagnosis and follow-up. (1995) Radiology. 196 (2): 499-504. doi:10.1148/radiology.196.2.7617867 - Pubmed
- 7. Collins JM, Krishnamoorthy AK, Kubal WS, Johnson MH, Poon CS. Multidetector CT of temporal bone fractures. (2012) Seminars in ultrasound, CT, and MR. 33 (5): 418-31. doi:10.1053/j.sult.2012.06.006 - Pubmed
- 8. Som PM, Curtin HD. Head and Neck Imaging. (2011) ISBN: 9780323053556