Bones of the Skull Base




   The posterior skull base consists of three bones: the occipital, temporal, and sphenoid which form the posterior, middle, and anterior portions of the posterior skull base, respectively. The petrous portion of the temporal bone and greater wings of the sphenoid bone are particularly important for identifying structures. The greater wings of the sphenoid are complex structures that form 3 approximately orthogonal plates:
      horizontal plate - medial  floor of the middle cranial fossa;
      lateral  plate - oblique sagittal plate which is a portion of the
              lateral skull convexity;       
      orbital plate - oblique coronal plate that forms the anterior wall
              of the middle cranial fossa/posterior wall of orbit.
   In the following images, the bones of the posterior skull base are color-coded with separate coloring for the petrous temporal bone and the greater wings of the sphenoid. The fissures and sutures that form the boundaries between these bones are labeled as well as the sphenoid spine. Images are displayed serially from inferior to superior.