Supraorbital Notch/Foramen in Sri Lankan Skulls: Morphometry and Surgical Relevance

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Isurani Ilayperuma; Ganananda Nanayakkara & Nadeeka Palahapitiya


Evidence supports the ethnic and sex variation in the form and position of the supraorbital foramen. Therefore, detailed knowledge of the population specific data on biometric features of the supraorbital foramen will facilitate diagnostic, local anesthetic and surgical manipulations in the maxillo-facial region. The goal of this study was to elucidate the morphological features and precise anatomical position of the supraorbital foramen with reference to surrounding surgically encountered anatomical landmarks in an adult Sri Lankan population. A total of one hundred and eight adult dry skulls of known sex were assessed to determine the number, shape, orientation, vertical and transverse diameters of the supraorbital foramen, transverse distance from the supraorbital foramen to the nasal midline and the zygomatico-maxillary suture and the vertical distance from the supraorbital foramen to the supraorbital rim and infraorbital foramen. The position of the supraorbital foramen was determined in relation to the infraorbital foramen. Data were evaluated between sides and sex. The supraorbital notch (64.81%) was found more frequently than the supraorbital foramen (35.19%). Of the skulls investigated, 55.56% displayed bilateral supraorbital notches, whereas 20.37% had bilateral supraorbital foramina and 24.07% had a notch on one side and a foramen on the contralateral side. The incidence of multiple supraorbital foramina was 6.48%. Sex variations were observed in the relative position of supraorbital notch/foramen from nasal midline (male: 26.12±3.89; female: 24.40±2.76), temporal crest of the frontal bone (male: 32.74±3.94; female: 30.87±4.18) and infraorbital foramen (male: 44.86±3.35; female: 43.26±3.63). The modal position for the infraorbital foramen was lateral to the lateral margin of the supraorbital notch/foramen (68.52%) and supraorbital and infraorbital foramina were lying in the same sagittal plane only in 24.07% of the skulls. The results of this study highlight the racial and sex differences and emphasize the need for meticulous preoperative evaluation of the supraorbital foramen to define the optimal locations in patients who are candidates for maxillo-facial surgeries and regional block anesthesia.

KEY WORDS: Supraorbital notch/foramen; Position; Sri Lankan.

How to cite this article

ILAYPERUMA, I.; NANAYAKKARA, G. & PALAHAPITIYA, N. Supraorbital notch/foramen in Sri Lankan skulls: morphometry and surgical relevance. Int. J. Morphol., 32(2):435-439, 2014.