|Base of the skull. Upper surface. (Foramen lacerum is labeled at center left, and is visible as the large hole between yellow sphenoid, red temporal, and blue occipital)|
|Gray's||subject #47 192|
Transit through the foramen lacerum
Several anatomy texts incorrectly state that the internal carotid artery passes through the foramen lacerum. However, in vivo the foramen is actually occluded by cartilage, preventing the artery from passing through. Rather, the internal carotid artery enters the base of the skull through the carotid canal, and travels superiorly to the cartilage occluding the foramen lacerum.
- The nerve of pterygoid canal comprises the deep petrosal nerve and the greater petrosal nerve the former carrying sympathetic fibres and the latter parasympathetic fibres of the autonomic nervous system to blood vessels, mucous membranes, salivary glands, and lacrimal glands.
- Furthermore, one of the terminal branches of the ascending pharyngeal artery (itself a branch of the external carotid artery) passes through the foramen lacerum. This is one of three possible "meningeal branches" of this vessel, the ascending pharyngeal artery.
- Lastly, some emissary veins pass through the foramen lacerum. These connect the extracranial pterygoid plexus with the intracranial cavernous sinus and present an unopposed route for infection.
- SUNY Figs 22:5b-10 - "Internal view of skull."
- Photo of model at Waynesburg College skeleton/foramenlacerum
- Norman/Georgetown cranialnerves (VII)
- Tauber M, van Loveren H, Jallo G, Romano A, Keller J (1999). "The enigmatic foramen lacerum". Neurosurgery. 44 (2): 386–91, discussion 391-3. PMID 9932893.
- Roche Lexicon - illustrated navigator, at Elsevier 34257.000-1
- Image at ucsd.edu