List of foramina of the human body


Image of base of the skull with several of the foramina labeled

The human skull has numerous openings (foramina), through which cranial nerves, arteries, veins, and other structures pass. These foramina vary in size and number, with age.[1][2]

Bone Cranial fossa Foramina Number Vessels Nerves
frontal-supraorbital foramen2supraorbital artery supraorbital veinsupraorbital nerve
frontalanterior cranial fossaforamen cecum1emissary veins to superior sagittal sinus from the upper part of the nose[3]
ethmoidanterior cranial fossa (osama)foramina of cribriform plate~20-olfactory nerve bundles (I)
ethmoidanterior cranial fossaanterior ethmoidal foramen2anterior ethmoidal artery
anterior ethmoidal vein
anterior ethmoidal nerve
ethmoidanterior cranial fossaposterior ethmoidal foramen2posterior ethmoidal artery
posterior ethmoidal vein
posterior ethmoidal nerve
sphenoid-optic canal2ophthalmic arteryoptic nerve (II)
sphenoidmiddle cranial fossasuperior orbital fissure2superior ophthalmic veinoculomotor nerve (III)
trochlear nerve (IV)
lacrimal, frontal and nasociliary branches of ophthalmic nerve (V1)
abducent nerve (VI)
sphenoidmiddle cranial fossaforamen rotundum2-maxillary nerve (V2)
maxilla-incisive foramen/canal/Stenson/Scarpa4terminal branch of palatine descendens arteryTerminal part of[3] nasopalatine nerve (V2)
palatine-greater palatine foramen2greater palatine artery
greater palatine vein
greater palatine nerve
palatine and sphenoid-foramen sphenopalatinum2sphenopalatina artery
sphenopalatina vein
nasopalatine nerve
rami nasales posteriores superiores (V2)
palatine and maxilla-lesser palatine foramina4lesser palatine artery
lesser palatine vein
lesser palatine nerve, greater palatine nerve[3]
sphenoid and maxilla-inferior orbital fissure2inferior ophthalmic veins
infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein, tributary of pterygoid plexus
zygomatic nerve and infraorbital nerve of maxillary nerve (V2)
orbital branches of pterygopalatine ganglion
maxilla-infraorbital foramen2infraorbital artery
infraorbital vein, tributary of pterygoid plexus
infraorbital nerve
sphenoidmiddle cranial fossaforamen ovale2accessory meningeal artery, emissary vein connecting cavernous sinus with pterygoid plexusmandibular nerve (V3)
lesser petrosal nerve (occasionally)[3]
sphenoidmiddle cranial fossaforamen spinosum2middle meningeal arterymeningeal branch of the mandibular nerve (V3)
sphenoidmiddle cranial fossaforamen lacerum2artery of pterygoid canal, Meningeal branch of ascending pharyngeal artery, emissary veinnerve of pterygoid canal through its anterior wall
temporalmiddle cranial fossacarotid canal2internal carotid arteryinternal carotid plexus, sympathetics from the superior cervical ganglion
temporalposterior cranial fossainternal acoustic meatus2labyrinthine arteryfacial nerve (VII), vestibulocochlear nerve (VIII)
temporalposterior cranial fossajugular foramen2internal jugular vein, inferior petrosal sinus, sigmoid sinusglossopharyngeal nerve (IX), vagus nerve (X), accessory nerve (XI)
temporalposterior cranial fossastylomastoid foramen2stylomastoid arteryfacial nerve (VII)
occipitalposterior cranial fossahypoglossal canal2-hypoglossal nerve (XII)
occipitalposterior cranial fossaforamen magnum1anterior and posterior spinal arteries, vertebral arterieslowest part of medulla oblongata, three meninges, ascending spinal fibers of accessory nerve (XI)[3]
occipitalposterior cranial fossacondylar canal1occipital emissary vein, meningeal branch of occipital artery


Within the vertebral column (spine) of vertebrates, including the human spine, each bone has an opening at both its top and bottom to allow nerves, arteries, veins, etc. to pass through.



  1. Kalmey JK1, ThewissenJG, Dluzen DE (July 1998). "Age-related size reduction of foramina in the cribriform plate". Anat. Rec. 251 (3): 326–9. doi:10.1002/(sici)1097-0185(199807)251:3<326::aid-ar7>;2-#.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  2. Patron V, Berkaoui J, Jankowski R, Lechapt-Zalcman E, Moreau S, Hitier M (Sep 2015). "The forgotten foramina: a study of the anterior cribriform plate". Surg Radiol Anat. 37 (7): 835–40. doi:10.1007/s00276-015-1471-2.
  3. Chaurasia, BD (2013). BD Chaurasia's Human Anatomy Volume 3. New Delhi: CBS Publishers and Distributors PVT Ltd. pp. 56–57. ISBN 9788123923321.
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