Petrous part of temporal bone

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 23 Jun 2021

The petrous part of the temporal bone (or more simply petrous temporal bone, PTB) forms the part of skull base between the sphenoid and occipital bones.

The petrous temporal bone has a pyramidal shape with an apex and a base as well as three surfaces and angles: 

  • apex (petrous apex)
    • direct medially; articulates with the posterior aspect of the greater wing of the sphenoid and basilar occiput
    • forms internal border of the carotid canal and the posterolateral boundary of the foramen lacerum
  • base
    • directed laterally and fuses with the internal surface of squama temporalis and mastoid

The petrous temporal bone has three surfaces—anterior, posterior and inferior:

The petrous temporal bone has three angles:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: temporal bone divisions (CT anatomy)
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  • Figure 2: diagram - temporal bone
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  • Case 1: normal CT
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  • Case 2: HRCT of petrous temporal bones
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  • Figure 3: annotated PTB
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