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Temporal fossa

The temporal fossa (Latin: fossa temporalis) is a depressed area on each side of the skull in the temporal region. It is located between the temporal lines and the zygomatic arch and situated superiorly to the infratemporal fossa.


Borders of temporal fossa

The structures forming borders of the temporal fossa are as follows:

  • Anterior border - posterior surface of the zygomatic bone's frontal process and posterior surface of the frontal bone's zygomatic process;
  • Superior and posterior - pair of temporal lines (superior and inferior temporal lines);
  • Inferior - medially, the infratemporal crest of the greater wing of the sphenoid, and laterally - the zygomatic arch;
  • Medial - outer surfaces of the frontal, parietal, temporal and sphenoid bones;
  • Lateral - temporal fascia.
Lateral side of skull, temporal fossa, borders marked with red interrupted line
Temporal fossa by


Contents of temporal fossa

The temporal fossa accommodates several nerves and blood vessels passing this area. It is also the origin site of one of the masticatory muscles, namely, the temporal muscle. This muscle occupies most of the temporal fossa. The content of the temporal fossa includes the following structures:

  • Nerves: zygomaticotemporal nerve, deep temporal nerves, temporal branch of the facial nerve (CN VII);
  • Blood vessels: deep temporal arteries, superficial temporal artery, superior temporal artery, superior temporal vein;
  • Muscle: temporal muscle.