, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 397-402
Date: 02 Aug 2008

The foramen spinosum: a landmark in middle fossa surgery

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The foramen spinosum is an easily identifiable landmark in microsurgery of the middle cranial fossa, and knowledge of the variations in its relationship to the surrounding neurovascular structures is important when operating in this area. We studied the anatomical relationship of the foramen spinosum to the foramen ovale, the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve, the greater superficial petrosal nerve, and the petrous part of the internal carotid artery in 12 cadaver heads. We also tried to define an external landmark for early identification of the location of the foramen spinosum in ten dry skulls. We found considerable variations in the anatomy around the foramen spinosum. This knowledge may improve the identification and preservation of the neurovascular structures when using approaches to the middle cranial fossa.