UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Joints and Ligaments of the Head and Neck

Gross Anatomy


Joints and Ligaments of the Head and Neck - Listed Alphabetically

Joint or ligament Description Notes
coronal suture the articulation between the frontal bone and the two parietal bones a suture
intermaxillary suture the articulation between the palatine processes of the right and left maxillae a suture; it is a midline feature of the hard palate and marks the line of fusion of the two palatine shelves (secondary palate) during development
lambdoidal suture the articulation between the occipital bone and the parietal bone a suture
metopic suture the articulation between the two ossification centers of the frontal bone a suture; a midline structure, it usually disappears during development but is occasionally present in adults
pterion the articulation between four bones: the greater wing of the sphenoid bone, the frontal bone, the parietal bone, the squamous part of the temporal bone a suture; this is a site of relatively thin bone that is frequently fractured in blows to the side of the head; the middle meningeal a. is located deep to this site and may be injured in skull fractures at this location, leading to epidural hematoma
sagittal suture the articulation between the two parietal bones a suture; it is a midline structure that lies superficial to the superior sagittal venous sinus
sphenomandibular ligament the ligament that attaches to the spine of the sphenoid bone superiorly and the lingula of the mandible inferiorly paired; it is a specialization of the pterygoid fascia and is a remnant of the mesenchymal core of the first pharyngeal arch (Meckel's cartilage)
squamosal suture the articulation between the parietal bone and the squamous portion of the temporal bone a suture; the greater wing of the sphenoid bone participates in the formation of the anterior end of the squamosal suture
stylohyoid ligament the ligament that connects the styloid process with the lesser horn of the hyoid bone a syndesmosis; paired; a remnant of the mesenchymal core of the second pharyngeal arch (Reichert's cartilage)
stylomandibular ligament the ligament that connects the styloid process with the angle of the mandible paired; a thickening of the parotid fascia
temporomandibular joint the articulation between the head of the condylar process of the mandible and the mandibular fossa of the temporal bone a synovial hinge joint; it is separated into two joint spaces by an intracapsular fibrous articular disc; gliding action occurs superior to the articular disc and hinge action occurs inferior to the disc


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.



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