Temporal Bone


The temporal bones are overlaid by the sides of the head known as the temples and house the structures of the ears . The lower seven cranial nerves and the major vessels to and from the brain traverse the temporal bone.

The temporal bone is located at the lower sides of the skull and directly underneath the temple. It consists of four separate pieces: the tympanic part, petrous portion, mastoid portion, and the squama temporalis.

The temporal bone contributes to the lower lateral walls of the skull. It contains the middle and inner portions of the ear, and is crossed by the majority of the cranial nerves.  The lower portion of the bone articulates with the mandible , forming the  temporomandibular joint of the jaw.

Updated version: 21-2-2007 In this review we present the normal coronal and axial anatomy of the temporal bone. Learn the anatomy by scrolling through the images.

The temporal bone is situated on the sides and the base of the cranium and lateral to the temporal lobe of cerebrum. The temporal bone is one of the most important calvarial and skull base bones. The temporal bone is very complex and consists of five parts:

The petrous part of the temporal bone is pyramid-shaped and is wedged in at the base of the skull between the sphenoid and occipital bones . Directed medially, forward, and a little upward, it presents a base, an apex, three surfaces, and three angles, and houses in its interior, the components of the inner ear . The petrous portion is among the most basal elements of the skull and forms part of the endocranium . Petrous comes from the Latin word petrosus , meaning "stone-like, hard". It is one of the densest bones in the body.

This is an updated version of the 2007 article. In this review we present the normal axial and coronal anatomy of the temporal bone by scrolling through the images.

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