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Anterior Transoral View of Osteology

Surgical Correlation

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Anterior transoral view of osteology. In this open mouth view, one can see the first three cervical vertebrae. The dens of the axis projects in the midline behind the anterior arch of the atlas. The transverse foramina of these vertebrae can also be seen. The clivus slopes upward from the anterior border of the foramen magnum and the pharyngeal tubercle is a small elevation on the clivus about 1 cm from the foramen. It is the site of attachment of the fibrous raphe of the pharynx. Just anterolateral to the foramen magnum are the hypoglossal canals for the hypoglossal nerves and further laterally is the opening of the jugular foramen for cranial nerves IX, X, and XI and the internal jugular vein. The hard palate consists of the palatine processes of the maxillae housing the maxillary teeth and the horizontal plate of the palatine bone. Medial to the third molars are the openings of the greater palatine foramina for neurovascular bundles of the same name supplying the hard palate. The mandibular condyles project from the posterior border of the mandible and rest within the mandibular fossae of the temporal bone. During jaw opening, they slide along the posterior surface of the articular tubercle. Behind the palatine bones project inferiorly the lateral and medial pterygoid plates. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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