In anatomy, a foramen (; pl. foramina, ) is any opening. Foramina inside the body of humans and other animals typically allow muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, or other structures to connect one part of the body with another.
The skulls of vertebrates (including humans) have foramina through which nerves, arteries, veins and other structures pass.
Within the vertebral column (spine) of vertebrates, including the human spine, each bone has an opening at both its top and bottom to allow nerves, arteries, veins, etc. to pass through.
- Apical foramen, the hole at the tip of the root of a tooth
- Foramen ovale (heart), a hole between the venous and arterial sides of the fetal heart
- Transverse foramen, one of a pair of openings in each cervical vertebra, in which the vertebral artery travels
- Greater sciatic foramen, a major foramen of the pelvis
- Interventricular foramina, channels connecting ventricles in the brain
- Lesser sciatic foramen, an opening between the pelvis and the posterior thigh
- Obturator foramen, the hole created by the ischium and pubis bones of the pelvis
- Sacral foramina, which perforate the vertebral canal from the Sacrum (sacral bone), and through which the sacral nerves pass.
- Vertebral foramen, the foramen formed by the anterior segment (the body), and the posterior part, the vertebral arch.
- Foramen of Panizza, a hole connecting two aortas just after they leave the heart in crocodiles.
- ^ OED 2nd edition, 1989.
- ^ Entry "foramen" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
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