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Foramen lacerum

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Structures of the cranial fossae.

The foramen lacerum (lacerated or torn foramen) is an irregular foramen located in the middle cranial fossa, posteromedial to the foramen ovale. It is an artefact of the dried cranium as it is closed in life by cartilage.

It is delimitated anteriorly by the pterygoid process and greater wing of the sphenoid bone, posterolaterally by the petrous part of the temporal bone, and medially by the basilar part of the occipital bone.

Only some meningeal arterial branches and small emissary veins are transmitted through the cartilage, completely traversing this foramen. The internal carotid artery, and its accompanying sympathetic and venous plexuses, pass along its superior aspect but do not traverse it. The deep petrosal nerve, a branch of the internal carotid plexus, enters the cartilaginous substance which fills the foramen lacerum, joins with the greater petrosal nerve, and leaves anteriorly as the nerve of the pterygoid canal.

Terminology English: Foramen lacerum
Latin: Foramen lacerum
Definition Irregular foramen located in the middle cranial fossa, closed in life by a cartilaginous plug 

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