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The Cranial Sutures

Contents

Overview

The cranial sutures are fibrous joints connecting the bones of the skull. To the unknowing individual these shallow grooves may look like fractures. In fact the intricate windy lines of these thin lines mark the adherence between the bones and the growth and closure of the cranial fontanelles. The sutures found in the skull are explained in the following article.

Recommended video: Bones of the skull
Overview of the bones that make up the skull.

Anterior view

Frontozygomatic suture - axial view

Frontozygomatic suture - axial view

  • The zygomaticomaxillary suture links the zygoma and the maxilla.
  • The two maxillary bones are anteriorly connected by the intermaxillary joint. The width of this joint is significantly increased during a maxillary expansion treatment.
  • The metopic suture is a persistent childhood suture that runs down the midline of the frontal bone.

Posterior view

  • The sagittal suture joins the two parietals.

Sagittal suture - cranial view

Sagittal suture - cranial view

  • The lambdoid suture marks the borders between the parietal and occipital bones.
  • The sagittal and lambdoid sutures converge into a lambda.

Lambdoid suture - dorsal view

Lambdoid suture - dorsal view

Superior view

  • The coronal suture separates the frontal bone and the parietal bone.
  • The coronal and the sagittal sutures converge into the bregma.
  • The sagittal and lambdoid sutures are also visible from this angle.

Coronal suture - cranial view

Coronal suture - cranial view

Lateral view

  • The squamous suture joins the parietal bone and the temporal bone.

Squamous suture - lateral-left view

Squamous suture - lateral-left view

  • The sphenofrontal suture links the frontal bone and the sphenoid bone.
  • The sphenoparietal suture articulates the sphenoid bone and the parietal bone.

Sphenoparietal suture - lateral-left view

Sphenoparietal suture - lateral-left view

  • The occipitomastoid suture is the groove between the occipital bone and the mastoid process of the temporal bone.
  • The temporozygomatic suture is the adherence of the temporal bone and the zygomatic bone.
  • The coronal, lambdoid and frontozygomatic sutures are also visible from this angle.

Inferior view

  • The median palatine suture connects the horizontal plates of the palatines. It is the posterior continuation of the intermaxillary suture.

Median palatine suture - caudal view

Median palatine suture - caudal view

  • The transverse palatine suture adheres the palatine process of the maxillary bone to the palatine bone.
  • The petro-occipital suture is the junction between the occipital bone and the petrous part of the temporal bone.
  • The spheno-occipital suture articulates the sphenoid bone and the occipital bone.
  • The petrosquamous suture is the interosseous border the petrous part and the squamous part of the temporal bone.
  • The petrotympanic suture (also known as the squamotympanic suture) is a temporal fissure that runs between the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the tympanic cavity.

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Summary

  • Frontonasal suture
  • Frontozygomatic suture
  • Zygomaticomaxillary suture
  • Intermaxillary joint
  • Metopic suture
  • Sagittal suture
  • Lambdoi suture
  • Coronal suture
  • Squamous suture
  • Sphenofrontal suture
  • Sphenoparietal suture
  • Occipitomastoid suture
  • Temporozygomatic suture
  • Median palatine suture
  • Transverse palatine suture
  • Petro-occipital suture
  • Spheno-occipital suture
  • Petrosquamous suture
  • Petrotympanic suture
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Show references

Reference:

  • Neil S. Norton, Ph.D. and Frank H. Netter, MD: Netter’s Head and Neck Anatomy for Dentistry, 2nd Edition, Elsevier Saunders, Chapter 2 Osteology, p.47-50.

Author:

  • Dr. Alexandra Sieroslawska

Illustrators:

  • Sagittal suture - cranial view - Yousun Koh
  • Lambdoid suture - dorsal view - Yousun Koh
  • Coronal suture - cranial view - Yousun Koh
  • Squamous suture - lateral-left view - Yousun Koh
  • Sphenoparietal suture - lateral-left view - Yousun Koh
  • Median palatine suture - caudal view - Yousun Koh
© Unless stated otherwise, all content, including illustrations are exclusive property of Kenhub GmbH, and are protected by German and international copyright laws. All rights reserved.

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