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Lacrimal bone

Anatomy, function and definition of the lacrimal bone.

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Hi there everyone! It’s Matt from Kenhub, and in this tutorial, we will be discussing the lacrimal bone. The lacrimal bone is the smallest bone of the skull located on the orbital plate of the ethmoid bone. Here you see the bone highlighted in green from a lateral view of the skull. The lacrimal bone is paired and sits inside the bony orbit taking up a small area of the most anterior part of the medial wall. In Latin, lacrima translates to "tears".

There is a difference between the lateral or orbital and the medial or nasal surfaces of the lacrimal bone. The lateral surface features the lacrimal groove which forms the fossa for lacrimal sac together with the lacrimal groove of the maxilla. The lacrimal sac and the nasolacrimal duct lie within this depression. Posteriorly, the fossa is limited by the posterior lacrimal crest. The medial surface contributes to the middle nasal meatus and comes in contact with the ethmoid cells.

The lacrimal bone has a common border with the frontal process of the maxilla anteriorly shown here in green. This incomplete articulation does not weaken their union as the fossa is very small and both bones are tightly bordered by many others.

Superiorly, the bone articulates with the frontal bone now shown in green. Posteriorly, it borders with the orbital lamina of the anterior ethmoid cells, sometimes, even constituting part of their walls. Inferiorly, the bone extends to the nasal cavity to articulate with the anterior part of the inferior nasal concha.

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