Morphology and Morphometry
The sphenoidal emissary foramen varies in size in different individuals, and is not always present on both sides of the sphenoid bone (one on each great wing of the sphenoid). In a study conducted under 100 skulls, the sphenoidal emissary foramen was only present in 17% of the cases, and it was always single.
In another study, the differences between the right and the left side as well as the differences between the male and the female sex were noted. Out of the 70 sides observed (35 skulls total), the sphenoidal emissary foramen was present in 32.85% of the cases (20.0% right side, 12.85% left side). The incidence of bilateral and unilateral sphenoidal emissary foramen was 22.85% (8 out of 35 skulls) and 20% (7 out of 35 skulls) respectively. Regarding the differences between the male and the female sex, no remarkable differences were observed, although the occurrence of the foramen was more in females compared to males (found in 13 sides in females and in 10 sides in males).
The skulls with one foramen were most frequent; those with two followed it and those with 3 (sphenoidal emissary) foramina were least frequent. Lang (1983) reported that the sphenoidal emissary foramen was present in about 40% of his material. It was found on the right side in 49% of the cases and in 36% of the cases on the left.
In the newborn, the foramen is about 1.0 mm in length, in the adults at the right side about 2 mm and at the left side 1.4 mm. The width increases from 1.0 to 1.14 mm at the right side and from 1.0 to 1.3 mm at the left side.
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