Sphenoid bone

The sphenoid bone is a large, complex, unpaired bone forming the central parts of the anterior and central skull base.

Gross anatomy

Parts of the sphenoid bone include:


The sphenoid bone articulates with twelve bones:

Fissures, foramina, grooves and canals

The sphenoid bone includes:

History and etymology

Galen (129-199) first described the bone by this name. It is derived from the Greek σφήν (sphen) meaning wedge. Some sources claim that the intended name was sphecoid, derived from Greek σφηξ (sphex) meaning wasp, but was inaccurately copied or translated 4,5.

Article information

rID: 37479
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • os sphecoides
  • os sphexoideum
  • os vespiforme
  • sphenoidal bone
  • os sphenoidale
  • os sphenoideum
  • Sphenoid

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: superior view
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  • Figure 2: posterior view
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