Anterior Cranial Fossa

Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 13 December 2020

Anterior Cranial Fossa

The anterior cranial fossa is shaded in yellow.

The cranial cavity is divided into three fossae:

1)      Anterior

2)      Middle

3)      Posterior

The anterior cranial cavity is formed from the following bones:

  • Frontal bone (orbital plate)
  • Ethmoid bone (cribriform plate)
  • Sphenoid bone (body and lesser wings)

The anterior cranial cavity contains the frontal lobes of the brain.

Structures in the anterior cranial cavity include:

  • Frontal crest – site of attachment for falx cerebri
  • Foramen caecum – emissary veins from nasal cavity to superior sagittal sinus
  • Crista Galli – site of attachment for falx cerebri
  • Cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone – small foramina through which olfactory nerves pass through
  • Anterior clinoid process – medial parts of lesser wings of sphenoid bone, act as anterior site of attachment for tentorium cerebelli.
  • Optic canal – optic nerve and ophthalmic artery pass through

In the midline, the anterior cranial fossa meets the middle cranial fossa at the anterior border of the chiasmatic sulcus. Laterally, the lesser wings of the sphenoid provided the boundary between the anterior and middle cranial fossae.