Health Information Management

Tip: Learn the bones of the skull

APCs Insider, June 22, 2012

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The human body contains 206 bones, with more than 20 of them in the cranium. These eight bones make up the skull itself:

  • Frontal bone: This bone comprises the forehead (squama frontalis) and the upper orbit of the eye (pars orbitalis). It joins the parietal bones at the ­coronal suture.
  • Two temporal bones: These bones are located at the sides and base of the skull, and they are the hardest bones in the body. Each one includes the ears, which comprise the auditory ossicles-the three smallest bones in the body.
  • Two parietal bones: These bones form most of the roof and sides of the skull. Each parietal bone consists of four borders (sagittal, squamous, frontal, and occipital) and four angles (frontal, sphenodial, occipital, and mastoid).
  • Ethmoid bone: This bone is located at the top of the nose and in between the two eye sockets. It differs from the other bones in the cranium because it's spongy instead of hard. It divides the nasal cavity from the brain.
  • Sphenoid bone: This bone is located ­behind the eyes at the base of the skull. Because of its shape, the sphenoid bone touches all the ­other cranial bones. It is divided ­into six portions: the body of the bone, two ­greater wings, two lesser wings, and the pterygoid processes.
  • Occipital bone: This bone forms the lower part of the back of the skull and the base of the cranium. The spinal cord exits the brain through a large oval hole, called the foramen magnum, in the occipital bone.
The tip is adapted from “ICD-10 anatomy refresher: Get to know the skull” in the June Briefings on APCs.

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