In this section, we consider the following aspects of the anatomy of the head:

  1. Functions of the skull
  2. Structure of the skull
    • There are 2 aspects to the cranium:
      1. Neurocranium – the ‘dome’/’braincase’
      2. Viscerocranium – the ‘face’
    • The mandible is part of the skull but not the cranium
      • I.e. (neurocranium + viscerocranium) + mandible = skull
  3. The pterion

Functions of the skull

  • Protection
  • Communication with body
  • Skeleton for facial muscles
  • Ingestion
  • Respiration

Communication through the skull

  1. Foramen (communicating with other parts of the body)
    • Spinal cord
    • Cranial nerves
    • Blood vessels
  2. Joints
    • Atlanto-occipital
    • TMJ
    • (Ossicles)
  3. Orifices (communicating with the environment)
    • Orbit
    • Nasal cavities
    • Oral cavity

The Pterion

  • This is the point at which there is union of the frontal, parietal, temporal, and sphenoid bones
  • It is extremely vulnerable:
    • Weak point with thin bone
    • Many sutures
    • Overlies anterior branch of middle meningeal vessels
      • Ruptured by direct blow => death via EDH


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