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The Cranial Sutures - want to learn more about it?

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The Cranial Sutures

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 dense fibrous tissue that connects the sutures is made mostly out of collagen. These joints are fixed, immovable, and they have no cavity. They are also referred to as the synarthroses. In fetal skull the sutures are wide and allow slight movement during birth, but later they become rigid and fixed just like in the adults.

Key Facts
Anterior aspect of skull Frontonasal suture - between the frontal bone and nasal bones
Frontozygomatic suture - between the frontal bone and zygomatic bone
Zygomaticomaxillary suture - between zygoma and the maxilla
Intermaxillary suture - between two maxilla
Metopic suture - found in children; on the midline of the frontal bone
Posterior aspect of skull Sagittal suture - between two parietal bones
Lambdoid suture - between the parietal bone and occipital bone
Lambda - convergence of the sagital and lambdoid suture (resembles to a greek letter 'lambda')
Superior aspect of skull Coronal suture - between the frontal bone and the parietal bone
Bregma - convergence of the saggital and coronal sutures
Lateral aspect of skull Squamous suture - between the parietal bone and temporal bone
Sphenofrontal suture - between the frontal bone and sphenoid bone
Sphenoparietal suture - between the sphenoid bone and parietal bone
Occipitomastoid suture - between the occipital bone and mastoid process of the temporal bone
Temporozygomatic suture - between the temporal bone and zygomatic bone
Inferior aspect of skull Median palatine suture - between the hotizontal plates of the palatines
Transverse palatine suture - between the palatine process of the maxillary bone and the palatine bone
Petro-occipital suture - between the occipital bone and petrous part of the temporal bone
Spheno-occipital suture - between the sphenoid bone and occipital bone
Petrosquamous suture - between the petrous and squamous parts of the temporal bone
Petrotympanic suture - between the temporomandibular joint and the tympanic cavity

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

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

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.

Lateral view

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

The Cranial Sutures - want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

Sign up for your free Kenhub account today and join over 852,397 successful anatomy students.

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more. Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver

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:

  • First - Fifth Illustration Galleries - 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.

Related Atlas Images

Anterior view of the skull

Posterior and lateral skull

Superior view of base of the skull

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