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Superior View of Anterior Cranial Fossa

Surgical Correlation

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Superior view of anterior cranial fossa. The floor of the anterior fossa consists of the frontal bone, the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone, and the lesser wing of the sphenoid. The orbital plates of the frontal bone form the roof of the orbits, while the olfactory grooves of the cribriform plate forms the roof of the nasal cavity.  Between the outer and inner tables of compact bone of the frontal bone anteriorly are the frontal sinuses, which often extend into the orbital plate. Within the olfactory groove is an olfactory bulb, which receives the multiple neurofilaments of the olfactory (CNI) nerve from the olfactory epithelium in the nasal cavity. The olfactory tract connects the olfactory bulb to the olfactory cortex. Between the cribriform plates in the midline is the crista galli for attachment of the falx cerebri. Immediately posterior to the cribriform plates is the planum sphenoidale, a smooth surfaced portion of the sphenoid connecting the lesser wings of the sphenoid. It roofs the anterior most part of the sphenoid sinus. Medial to the anterior clinoid processes of the lesser wings are the optic canals for the optic nerve and ophthalmic artery. Also, medial at this area is the emergence of the internal carotid arteries before they terminate in anterior and middle cerebral arteries. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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