Foramen lacerum

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Foramen lacerum
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
Dorlands/Elsevier f_12/12373219

The foramen lacerum (Latin for lacerated piercing) is a triangular hole in the base of the skull located at the base of the medial pterygoid plate.

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.

However, some nerves, arteries, and veins do pass through the cartilage plug of the foramen lacerum: the artery of pterygoid canal, the nerve of pterygoid canal, and some venous drainage.

External links

  • 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

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