Purpose: Ethmoidal slit (ES) and cribroethmoidal foramen (CF) have been poorly studied, without any radiological description. They may ease cribriform plate's diseases. The objective was to describe the frequency, size, and computed tomography (CT) appearance of these foramina.
Methods: A two-part anatomoradiological study was performed: first on dry skulls using a surgical microscope and CT, second on patients CT scans. For each, foramina were searched for, described, and measured when possible.
Results: Thirteen dry macerated skulls were studied. The orbitomeatal plane was relevant for studying ES. With microscope, ES and CF were identified in, respectively, 92% and 100% of cases. Using CT, all ES and CF were visible, with a mean length and width of, respectively, 3.9 ± 1.7 mm and 0.9 ± 0.3 mm for ES and 1.6 ± 1 mm and 0.9 ± 0.3 mm for CF. CT scans from 153 patients were reviewed. ES and CF were identified in, respectively, 80% and 91% of cases, with a mean length and width of, respectively, 3.9 ± 0.8 mm and 0.8 ± 0.2 mm for ES.
Conclusion: Large-sized ES was found frequently, and were clearly visible in patients CT scans. CF was markedly smaller, but seen in most patient scans. ES and CF could be areas of least resistance in the anterior part of the cribriform plate. CT might be helpful in understanding their pathological implications.
Keywords: Anatomy; Computed tomography; Cribriform plate; Ethmoid bone; Skull base.