Foramina of Cranial Cavity (Skull Base) And Structures Passing

This is a list of all structures passing through various foramina of the cranial cavity.

1. Anterior cranial fossa 

  • Foramen caecum- emissary vein
  • Cribriform foramina- olfactory nerves
  • Anterior ethmoidal foramen- anterior ethmoidal N&V
  • Posterior ethmoidal foramen- posterior ethmoidal N&V 

2. Middle cranial fossa 

  • Optic foramen- optic nerve, ophthalmic artery, sympathetic plexus
  • Superior orbital fissure-
    • Within common tendinous ring: oculomotor nerve (superior & inferior divisions), nasociliary nerve, abducent nerve, sympathetic root of ciliary ganglion
    • Above tendinous ring: lacrimal, trochlear, frontal nerves, lacrimal artery, superior ophthalmic vein, recurrent meningeal branch of lacrimal artery
    • Below ring: inferior ophthalmic vein
  • Foramen rotundum- maxillary nerve, emissary vein
  • Foramen ovale- mandibular nerve, accessory middle meningeal artery, lesser petrosal nerve, emissary vein
  • Foramen spinosum- middle meningeal artery, nervus spinosus
  • Foramen lacerum- meningeal branch of ascending pharyngeal artery, emissary vein, internal carotid and its sympathetic plexus 

3. Posterior cranial fossa 

  • Internal auditory meatus- CN 7, CN 8, nervus intermedius, labrynthine vessels
  • Jugular foramen
    • Anterior part: inferior petrosal sinus
    • Middle part: CN 9, 10, 11
    • Posteror part: sigmoid sinus
  • Hypoglossal canal- CN 12, meningeal branch of ascending pharyngeal artery
  • Posterior condylar canal- emissary vein, meningeal branch of occipital artery
  • Foramen magnum:
    • Anterior compartment: apical ligament of dens, upper longitudinal branch of cruciform ligament, membrana tectoria
    • Posterior compartment: medulla and coverings, 2 posterior spinal arteries, anterior spinal artery, communicating arteries between vertebral and basilar venous plexus, 2 vertebral arteries, sympathtic plexus, spinal roots of accessory nerve

foramen of skull base/ cranial cavity and structures passing through them


CN- cranial nerve

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