The Anterior View of Skull


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Source: OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

The anterior skull consists of the facial bones and provides the bony support for the eyes and structures of the face. This view of the skull is dominated by the openings of the orbits and the nasal cavity. Also seen are the upper and lower jaws, with their respective teeth.

The orbit is the bony socket that houses the eyeball and muscles that move the eyeball or open the upper eyelid. The upper margin of the anterior orbit is the supraorbital margin. Located near the midpoint of the supraorbital margin is a small opening called the supraorbital foramen. This provides for passage of a sensory nerve to the skin of the forehead. Below the orbit is the infraorbital foramen, which is the point of emergence for a sensory nerve that supplies the anterior face below the orbit.

Inside the nasal area of the skull, the nasal cavity is divided into halves by the nasal septum. The upper portion of the nasal septum is formed by the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone and the lower portion is the vomer bone. Each side of the nasal cavity is triangular in shape, with a broad inferior space that narrows superiorly. When looking into the nasal cavity from the front of the skull, two bony plates are seen projecting from each lateral wall. The larger of these is the inferior nasal concha, an independent bone of the skull. Located just above the inferior concha is the middle nasal concha, which is part of the ethmoid bone. A third bony plate, also part of the ethmoid bone, is the superior nasal concha. It is much smaller and out of sight, above the middle concha. The superior nasal concha is located just lateral to the perpendicular plate, in the upper nasal cavity.


Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at:


Endoscopic Resection of a “T-shaped” Benign Fibrous Histiocytoma at the Skull Base in a Pediatric Patient

Background: Benign fibrous histiocytoma (BFH) is a benign tumor composed of cells with characteristics of histiocytes and with fibroblastic components. BFHs are rare lesions, especially in the skull base.

Case presentation: Here, the authors report the case of a 9-year-old girl presented with reduced binocular vision for 2 months. The computerized tomography (CT) of the tumor appearance was high-density annular sclerosis. The tumor was removed via nasal endoscopic approach. Final pathologic diagnosis was benign fibrous histiocytoma. The post-operative period was uneventful after 8 months, and the visual acuity was improved to some extent.

Discussion and conclusion: This is the first case of BFH in a pediatric patient that was removed by endoscope. For similar case, endoscopic resection might be the first choice, including pediatric patient. Moreover, the CT feature and literature review may provide further insight into the diagnosis and management.

Skull fractures in abusive head trauma: a single centre experience and review of the literature

Purpose: The authors provide a comprehensive framework with which to approach paediatric calvarial injury sustained as a result of suspected abusive head trauma (AHT). This is achieved through the presentation of a case series set in the context of the unique morphology of the infant skull and the possible diagnostic pitfalls which may arise due to the presence of variant anatomy or other mimicking conditions.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of sixty-three patients referred to our institution with suspected AHT was carried out. Seventeen patients with skull fractures were identified and their fractures were described in terms of anatomical location, type and course. Our data was then interpreted in the light of known anatomical fracture mimics and the available literature on the subject.

Results: Forty-two skull fractures were identified and described in our cohort, most of which were simple linear fractures of the parietal bones (33%). There were also a substantial number of complex stellate fractures, namely of the parietal (29%) and occipital (10%) bones. Eleven fracture mimics including accessory sutures and wormian bones were also identified in this cohort.

Conclusions: Our study supports and builds on the existing literature, thereby offering a more complete view of the spectrum of calvarial damage sustained as a result of AHT in the context of its diagnostic pitfalls.

Keywords: Fracture mimics; Non-accidental injury; Shaken baby syndrome; Traumatic brain injury.

Robotic Skull Base Surgery

Robotic surgery has become more common in otolaryngologic surgery since the introduction of the da Vinci robotic system, but has played a limited role in anterior and central skull base surgery, largely because of technical limitations of existing robots. Current robotic technology has been used in creative ways to access the skull base, but was not designed to navigate these complex anatomic constraints. Novel robots should target many of the limitations of current robotic technology, such as maneuverability, inability to suture, lack of haptic feedback, and absent integration with image guidance.

Keywords: Robotic skull base; Robotic surgery; Sinonasal; Skull base; Transoral robotic surgery.

Persistent Intracranial Hypertension in a Cranial Vault Remodeling Patient With Open Skull Fractures From Horse Kick

A 4-year-old female with prior cranial vault remodeling for nonsyndromic bilateral coronal craniosynostosis sustained a severe traumatic brain injury with open skull fractures from a horse kick. Her post-traumatic course was complicated by persistently elevated intracranial pressure despite neurosurgical decompressions, maximum medical therapy, and trial of multiple pressure monitoring devices. She eventually had improvement in her intracranial pressures and made a full neurologic recovery. This case highlights the potential severity of horse kick injuries, the possible etiology of persistent intracranial hypertension in cranial vault remodeling patients following traumatic brain injury, the importance of a multi-team approach in the initial evaluation and postoperative follow-up of all craniosynostosis patients, and the necessity of helmet utilization.

Keywords: cranial vault remodeling; craniosynostosis; horse kick; intracranial hypertension; traumatic brain injury.

Central skull base osteomyelitis secondary to invasive aspergillus sphenoid sinusitis presenting with isolated 12th nerve palsy

Skull base osteomyelitis is a potentially life-threatening infection, usually seen in elderly immunocompromised patients secondary to malignant otitis externa (MOE) caused by Pseudomonas. Central or atypical skull base osteomyelitis often poses a diagnostic challenge as they present as head-ache with or without cranial nerve palsy often without any obvious source of infection. Although the incidence of fungal skull base osteomyelitis is increasing central skull base osteomyelitis due to invasive fungal sinusitis presenting with isolated hypoglossal nerve palsy has not been reported in the literature, to our knowledge. We report a case of a 59-year-old diabetic patient on regular treatment including steroid for acetylcholine receptor binding antibody positive myasthenia gravis with thymoma who presented with persistent head-ache and on evaluation, was found to have 12th cranial nerve palsy on the right side. She was diagnosed to have invasive fungal sphenoid sinusitis and central skull base osteomyelitis involving the clivus and was successfully treated with endoscopic transnasal transsphenoidal debridement followed by antifungal therapy.

Keywords: Central skull base osteomyelitis; Invasive fungal sinusitis; Isolated 12th nerve palsy.

Application of endoscopic endonasal approach in skull base surgeries: summary of 1886 cases in a single center for 10 consecutive years

Background: Endonasal endoscopic skull base surgery has undergone rapid technological developments and is now widely performed, but its strengths and weaknesses deserve further investigation and deliberation. This study was performed to investigate the surgical indications, complications, and technical advantages and disadvantages of endonasal endoscopic skull base surgery.

Methods: The clinical data of 1886 endoscopic endonasal skull base surgeries performed in our ward at Beijing Tiantan Hospital from June 2006 to June 2016 were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: One thousand ninety-three (73.4%, 1490) pituitary adenomas, 54 (24.9%, 217) chordomas, 28 (80.0%, 35) craniopharyngiomas, and 15 (83.3%, 18) meningiomas underwent total resection. Two patients died postoperatively, both having pituitary adenomas. Other postoperative complications included olfactory disorders (n = 226, 11.9%), postoperative cerebrospinal fluid leakage (n = 78, 4.1%), hypopituitarism (n = 74, 3.9%), diabetes insipidus (n = 64, 3.4%), intracranial infection (n = 36, 1.9%), epistaxis (n = 24, 1.3%), vascular injury (n = 8, 0.4%), optic nerve injury (n = 8, 0.4%), and oculomotor movement impairment (n = 4, 0.2%). In total, 1517 (80.4%) patients were followed up for 6 to 126 months (average, 42.5 months) postoperatively. A total of 196 (13.2%) pituitary adenomas and 13 (37.1%) craniopharyngiomas recurred but no meningiomas recurred. Chordomas recurred in 97 (44.7%) patients, in whom 5-year survival rate was 65%.

Conclusion: Endoscopic surgery is an innovative surgical technique and the first choice for most midline extradural lesions such as chordomas, and an excellent choice for pituitary adenomas. It probably will be a good technique for many kinds of craniopharyngiomas and a common technique for most of skull base meningiomas, so the surgical indications of these cases should be chosen carefully to make good use of its respective advantages.

Keywords: Complication; Endonasal approach; Indication; Neuroendoscopy; Skull base surgery.