Glossary of Anatomical Terms
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Arachnoid mater:

[G. arachne = spider. Eidos = shape or form]  The middle of the three layers of meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord.  Its web-like trabecular tissues span the gap between the pia mater and the dura mater.  It contains cerebrospinal fluid and arteries and veins that lie on the surface of the brain.

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[Gr. diploŽ = fold] The spongy spaces formed by cancellous bone between the inner and outer tables of the bones of the skull, particularly the platebones (e.g. parietal or occipital bone).  At birth these spaces are rudimentary, but become more prominent as post-natal growth proceeds.  The spaces contain bone marrow, fat and venous blood that ultimately drain into the intracranial venous sinuses by means of emissary veins.

 Dura mater:

[L. dura = hard, mater = mother] The outermost of the three layers of the meninges that surround the central nervous system in the skull and vertebral column.

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Periosteum that lines the inner surfaces of bones.

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[L.] a trench or channel; in anatomy, a hollow or depressed area. Fossae - plural.

Frankfort Plane:

A standard reference orientation of the skull in which a horizontal line passes forward from the top of the external auditory meatus (porion) to the lower margin of the orbit.  It is also known as the auriculo-orbital plane.  It is considered the "anatomical position" only in humans.  On a normal skull it is tilted about 7 degrees nose up with respect to the horizontal plane.

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[G lepto = fine, thin or delicate] refers to the pia mater and arachnoid mater that lie beneath the dura mater.  Leptomeninx singular.

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[L. modern Latin malaris, from Latin mala =  jaw]   Of or pertaining to the cheek or cheek-bone.


[L. an opening or passage.]


 [G. menix = membrane]  The collective term for the three layers of connective tissue that surround the brain and spinal cord.  See also leptomeninges.

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[G. Pachy = thick] The dura mater.


A dense double layer connective tissue membrane that lines the outer surface of bones.  The outer fibrous layer contains fibroblasts while the inner cambium (or meningeal) layer contains osteoblasts.  See also endosteum.

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[L. sella = saddle].  Sella turcica or Turkish saddle.


  [L. sutura = a seam] The joint between two bones, generally immovable.

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