What is the Frontal Bone?

Mary McMahon

The frontal bone is one of the bones of the skull. When people are born, the bones of the skull are separated by a series of soft sutures that give the skull room to grow. Over time, the sutures ossify, hardening and creating a solid skull. The different parts of the skull are referred to as individual bones whether they are still distinguishable as clearly separate bones or not, and each bone of the skull has a number of distinct anatomical structures that are also named.

The frontal bone protects the frontal lobe of the brain.
The frontal bone protects the frontal lobe of the brain.

In the case of the frontal bone, the bone comprises part of the cranial vault, the area of the skull designed to hold and protect the brain. The bones in the cranial vault must be durable and their undersides are lined with a number of structures designed to allow for the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid while accommodating the structures of the brain itself, as well as nerves and blood vessels. The frontal bone corresponds to the front lobes of the brain, located near the forehead.

Frontal bone fractures may occur as a result of a fall.
Frontal bone fractures may occur as a result of a fall.

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This bone covers the forehead down to the eyes and includes a horizontal portion that makes up the roof of the eye sockets as well as the nasal cavities. The frontal sinuses are located just above the orbits, the depressions for the eyes, inside the frontal bone. In order to accommodate bloodflow to the eyes, small notches or openings known as orbital foramina are located near the eye sockets. The bone articulates with other bones in the skull like the nasal, ethmoid, parietal, zygomatic, and maxillary bones.

Poor frontal lobe development may be linked to antisocial personality disorder.
Poor frontal lobe development may be linked to antisocial personality disorder.

Fractures of the frontal bone can be caused by blows to the head, as well as falls on hard surfaces or against sharp and hard objects. If this bone is fractured, a medical emergency can occur, as brain damage to the frontal lobes is associated with frontal bone fractures. In addition, fracturing the bone may disrupt the orbits, causing damage to the eyes or to the structures deep inside the nose. Usually a physical examination and X-ray can be used to spot a frontal bone fracture and there are treatments available.

Fractures of the frontal bone may necessitate the need for plastic surgery.
Fractures of the frontal bone may necessitate the need for plastic surgery.

Some variations in the shape and size of the frontal bone are normal. Some genetic conditions are associated with variations in skull shape and size and people can also be born with prematurely fused cranial sutures that cause the shape of the skull to become distorted. Having an unusually small or large forehead does not necessarily provide any indications about someone's cognitive abilities or intelligence.

An X-ray of the skull may help to diagnose a frontal bone fracture.
An X-ray of the skull may help to diagnose a frontal bone fracture.

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Discussion Comments

BoniJ

If there is injury to the brain from fracturing the frontal bone, and the injury causes damage to the eyes and inside the nose, the article states that there are treatments for these. I kind of wonder, though, about the eyes. I can see where there might be some permanent damage to the eyes - they are so complicated and delicate.

I think that by playing two sports, tackle football and boxing,you are really increasing your chances of having brain damage.

sweetPeas

It sounds like an injury that causes a fracture to the frontal bone can cause pretty serious damage to the brain, especially to the eye and nose area. It seems like kids fall on the back or top of their head, with no apparent injury. But you never know how hard the brain is being knocked.

I think, though, that nature has provided the brain with a very strong capsule to protect it from injury.

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