PURPOSE: To chronicle the development of ossification centers, sutures, and synchondroses in the chondrocranium throughout childhood by using computed tomography (CT). MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred eighty-nine children (age range, newborn to 18 years; median age, 4.0 years) without skull base deformity were referred for cranial CT. The closure of 18 sutures and synchondroses was graded. RESULTS: In the occipital bone at birth, six components were identified. The Kerckring ossicle rapidly fused to the supraoccipital bone within the 1st month. At age 1-3 years, the posterior and anterior intraoccipital synchondroses began to fuse. The occipitomastoidal, petrooccipital, and spheno-occipital synchondroses remained partially open into the teenage years. In the sphenoid bone at birth, 13 ossification centers were identified; most assimilated into the sphenoidal body during the first 2 years. Pneumatization of the sphenoid sinus appeared at age 1-2 years and advanced posteriorly over the next 3-5 years. CONCLUSION: The complex process of skull base development is chronicled, which provides CT standards for judgment of the patterns and timing of sutural or synchondrosal closure.
- Skull, CT
- Skull, anatomy
- Skull, base
- Skull, growth and development