Introduction[edit | edit source]

The skull (also known as cranium) consists of 22 bones which can be subdivided into 8 cranial bones and 14 facial bones.

The main function of the bones of the skull along with the surrounded meninges, is to provide protection and structure.[1] Protection to the brain (cerebellum, cerebrum, brainstem) and orbits of the eyes. Structurally it provides an anchor for tendinous and muscular attachments of the muscles of the scalp and face. The skull also protects various nerves and vessels that feed and innervate the brain, facial muscles, and skin.

Human skull side.png.png

Cranial Bones Sutures Facial Bones
  • Fontal Bone
  • Parietal Bone (2)
  • Temporal Bone (2)
  • Occipital Bone
  • Sphenoid Bone
  • Ethmoid Bone [1]
Strong, fibrous, elastic bands of tissues that binds/connect the cranial bones together.
  • Coronal Suture: Junction between the frontal and two parietal bones. The coronal suture lies in the coronal plane.
  • Sagittal Suture: Junction between two parietal bones. The sagittal suture lies in the sagittal plane.
  • Squamous Suture: Junction between the temporal and parietal bones.
  • Lambdoid Suture: Junction between the parietal bones and the occipital bones.
  • Pterion: Junction of the frontal, parietal and temporal bones in the lateral aspect of the skull.
  • Nasal Conchae (2)
  • Nasal Bones (2)
  • Maxilla Bones (2)
  • Palatine Bones (2)
  • Lacrimal Bones (2)
  • Zygomatic Bones (2)
  • Mandible
  • Vomer [2]

Blood Supply[edit | edit source]

The skull and its contents are mainly supplied with oxygenated blood from the common carotid artery. The remainder of blood supply comes from the vertebral artery.

Nerve Supply[edit | edit source]

The base of skull has numerous foramina that allow the entry lot of vessels and nerves, including the cranial nerves.

  • The Optic Nerve and Ophthalmic Artery passes through the Optic Nerve Canal.
  • Superior orbital fissure transmits the Oculomotor Nerve, Trochlear Nerve, Ophthalmic branch of the Trigeminal Nerve and the Abducens Nerve.
  • Internal Carotid Artery enters through the Carotid Canal.
  • The Mandibular Branch of the Trigeminal Nerve exits the skull through the Foramen Rotunda.
  • The Middle Meningeal Artery passes through the Foramina Spinosum.
  • Foramina Magnum: allows the Spinal Cord through the base of skull into the Spinal Canal of the Vertebral Column.[2]

Resources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Morton DA, Foreman K, Albertine KH. eds. 'The Big Picture: Gross Anatomy, 2e' New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. Available from: (Accessed 8 April 2019).
  2. 2.0 2.1 Anderson BW, Al Kharazi KA. Anatomy, Head and Neck, Skull.Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019. Available from: (accessed 8 April 2019)
  3. Gaylene Ewing. Cranial bones. Available from: [last accessed 8/4/2019]
  4. Gaylene Ewing. Facial bones. Available from: [last accessed 8/4/2019]