The cranium, also known as the skull, is a bony structure that encloses and protects the brain and the other structures of the head. The cranium is made up of several bones that are joined together by sutures, which are immovable joints.
The main bones of the cranium include:
- The frontal bone: This bone is located in the forehead and forms the brow and upper part of the eye sockets.
- The parietal bones: These bones are located on either side of the cranium and form the top and sides of the head.
- The occipital bone: This bone is located at the back of the cranium and forms the base of the head.
- The temporal bones: These bones are located on either side of the cranium and form the lower part of the sides of the head, as well as the ear canal.
- The ethmoid bone: This bone is located in the center of the face and forms the bridge of the nose and the roof of the eye sockets.
- The sphenoid bone: This bone is located in the center of the cranium and forms the base of the eye sockets and the back of the nose.
The cranium also includes several openings that allow for the passage of the blood vessels, nerves, and other structures that serve the head and brain. These openings include the foramen magnum (for the spinal cord), the optic foramen (for the optic nerve), and the auditory canal (for the auditory nerve).
Understanding the anatomy of the cranium is important for diagnosing and treating conditions and injuries of the head and brain, as well as for understanding the structure and function of these important structures.