||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Mastoid part of the temporal bone. (Discuss) Proposed since August 2016.|
Side view of skull. Mastoid process shown in red.
|Latin||processus mastoideus ossis temporalis|
|Anatomical terms of bone|
The mastoid process projects from the temporal bone in the skull and is roughly pyramidal or conical in shape. It is also filled with sinuses, or mastoid cells. On the medial side of the mastoid process is a deep groove, the mastoid notch, for the attachment of the digastric muscle. Medial to this is a shallow furrow, the occipital groove, which lodges the occipital artery.
Variation in humans
Its size and form vary somewhat; it is larger in the male than in the female.
One important role for this bone is as a point of attachment for several muscles - the splenius capitis, longissimus capitis, digastric posterior belly, and sternocleidomastoid. These muscles are one reason the mastoid process tends to be larger in men, because men have bigger muscles as a rule and thus require larger points of attachment.
The term “mastoid” is derived from the Greek word for “breast,” a reference to the shape of this bone.
Base of skull. Mastoid process labeled at middle left.
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