Skull: Lateral View

The following components of skull are prominent in the lateral view:

  • Frontal bone
  • Parietal bones
  • Parts of occipital and temporal bones
  • Greater wing of Sphenoid bone
  • Pterion
  • Temporal and Infratemporal fossae
  • Inferior orbital fissure
  • Pterygopalatine fossa

Frontal bone:

It forms the anterior part of the side of the skull and articulates with the parietal bone at the coronal suture.

Parietal bones:

Parietal bones form sides and roof of the cranium. They articulate with each other in the midline at the sagittal suture, and with the occipital bone behind at the lambdoid suture.

Parts of occipital and temporal bones:

At the side, the skull is completed by the squamous part of the occipital bone. In addition, parts of temporal bone are also involved, namely squamous, tympanic, mastoid process, styloid process, and zygomatic process.

Greater wing of sphenoid:

It forms part of the side of the skull, alongside parts of occipital and temporal bones.


It is the thinnest part of the lateral wall of the skull located where the anteroinferior corner of the parietal bone articulates with the greater wing of the sphenoid bone.

It is important clinically because the anterior division of the middle meningeal artery and vein lie directly beneath it.

Temporal and Infratemporal fossae:

Temporal fossa is the shallow depression on the side of the skull bounded by the temporal lines. Infratemproal fossa is the irregularly shaped cavity situated below and medial to the zygomatic arch.

Inferior orbital fissure:

It is a horizontal fissure between the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and the maxilla. It leads forward into the orbit.

Pterygopalatine fossa:

It is a small space behind and below the orbital cavity. It communicates with other skull components in the following way:

  • Laterally with the infratemporal fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure
  • Medially with nasal cavity through the sphenopalatine foramen
  • Superiorly with the skull through the foramen rotundum
  • Anteriorly with the orbit through the inferior orbital fissure