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Stylomastoid foramen

Recommended video: Temporal bone [12:39]
Structure and landmarks of the temporal bone.

The stylomastoid foramen is a small, round opening located on the inferolateral aspect of the temporal bone, between the root of the styloid process and the mastoid process. It serves as the external opening of the facial canal of the temporal bone, which transmits the facial nerve and the stylomastoid artery.

The facial nerve exits the cranial cavity through the internal acoustic meatus and enters the facial canal of the temporal bone. The nerve then exits the skull through the stylomastoid foramen to enter the parotid gland, ultimately branching into five terminal branches to supply the face.

Alongside the facial nerve, the stylomastoid foramen also transmits the stylomastoid artery, a branch of the posterior auricular artery which supplies the facial nerve within its canal, the middle ear cavity and the mastoid air cells.

Terminology English: Foramen stylomastoideum
Latin: Foramen stylomastoideum
Definition Opening between the base of the styloid and mastoid processes of the temporal bone
Contents Facial nerve, stylomastoid artery
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Learn more about the stylomastoid foramen and other features of the temporal bone in the following study unit:

Need a bit of an overview? This quiz will test your knowledge about the bones of the skull.

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