Anatomic study of the pterion in Nigerian dry human skulls
Background: The pterion is a point of sutural confluence seen in the norma lateralis of the skull. The site is an important landmark in surgical approaches to the anterior and middle cranial fossa.
Objective: This study was designed to determine the frequency of pterion types and anatomic positions of the pterion in dry human skulls of Nigerians in the South Eastern Zone. Materials and Methods: Specific measurements were taken on both sides of 56 Nigerian human skulls of unknown sex, obtained from the Department of Anatomy, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi Campus, Nnewi, Nigeria.
Results: All the four types of the pterion were present, i.e. sphenoparietal, frontotemporal, stellate, and epipteric. The study showed that the sphenoparietal type was 75% on the right side, 76% on the left side, the frontotemporal type was 19.6% on both sides, the stellate type was 1.8% on the right side and absent on the left side. The epipteric type was 3.6% on both sides. The distances from the centre of pterion to the frontozygomatic suture were 2.74 ± 0.07 cm on the right side and 2.74 ± 0.06 cm on the left side. The pterion was 4.02 ± 0.05 and 4.01 ± 0.03 cm above the midpoint of the zygomatic arch on the right and left sides, respectively.
Conclusion: These findings are important for the surgeon as the pterion junction is a common extracranial landmark in neurosurgical and surgical approaches.
Key words: Frontozygomatic suture, pterion, zygomatic arch