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Table of Contents
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 71  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 156-157

Basic Rules for Naming Sutures


Date of Submission24-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance23-Nov-2021
Date of Web Publication30-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
Ilyas Ucar

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jasi.jasi_166_20

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How to cite this article:
Unur E, Ucar I, Cikmaz S, Akkin SM. Basic Rules for Naming Sutures. J Anat Soc India 2022;71:156-7

How to cite this URL:
Unur E, Ucar I, Cikmaz S, Akkin SM. Basic Rules for Naming Sutures. J Anat Soc India [serial online] 2022 [cited 2022 Aug 17];71:156-7. Available from: https://www.jasi.org.in/text.asp?2022/71/2/156/349535

Dear Editor,

The development of skull bones is a process that begins in the early embryonic period and continues until adulthood.[1] The number of bones which consists of 28 parts at birth decreases to 22 in adults. Since the ossification of the newborn skull has not yet been completed, the bones are joined by fibrous or cartilage tissue. In parallel with the progress of the ossification process, structures that we call suture will emerge in the region of these fibrous or cartilage tissues.[2]

In an adult skull, there are a total of 33 sutures. These are given collectively under the heading “Suturae cranii” on page 26 in Terminologia Anatomica (TA).[3] Considering the names of these 33 sutures, some of them are named according to the course of suture (sutura coronalis, etc.), some according to the shape (sutura lambdoid), some according to the structure (sutura squamosa, etc.), some according to the region (sutura palatina mediana, sutura palatina transversa, etc.) but most of them are named according to the names of the bones (sutura sphenoethmoidalis and sutura frontonasal, etc.).

The names are created by giving the name of two bones but nomenclature rules about which bone will come first are not known, today.

In the face of questions from students about this topic, the lack of satisfactory answers of educators causes problems. To eliminate this distress to some extent, we aimed to develop an empirical study on the names of sutures.

The existing sutura names in Nomina Anatomica (NA; this book contains lists accepted in 1895, 1933, and 1955 in 3 columns),[4] NA (1985), and TA (1998) were compared. Current rules for naming sutures are empirically introduced.

On page 26 of (TA), there are a total of 34 terms of suture. (1) The first one is the general title named “Sutura cranii” coded A03.1.02.001.

(2) The names of the four sutures found in Calvaria have been put forward by considering the course, shape and structure of the suture

  • A03.1.02.002: Sutura coronalis
  • A03.1.02.003: Sutura sagittalis
  • A03.1.02.004: Sutura lambdoidea
  • A03.1.02.005: Sutura squamosal.

(3) Some sutures belong to a single bone or formed between right and left bones of the same name.

A03.1.02.012: Sutura squamomastoidea (also known as “Fissura tympanomastoidea” because it is not a real suture)

  • A03.1.02.023: Sutura internasalis
  • A03.1.02.029: Sutura intermaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.034: (Sutura frontalis persistens; Sutura metopica).

(4) When sutures belonging to the palate (or sutures including “os palatinum”) are named, the palate is taken as the basis

  • A03.1.02.03: Sutura palatoethmoidalis
  • A03.1.02.030: Sutura palatomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.032: Sutura palatina mediana
  • A03.1.02.033: Sutura palatina transversa.

(5) While the 21 remaining sutures were named, the names of the bones that make up the suture are used together. In this way, the question of which bone's name will take the first and which bone's name will take place at the end comes up. We conducted our study to find reasonable answers to this question.

In our empirical examination, we identified four different criteria and obtained the following results.

(A) In anatomical terminology, some of the bones receive “os” while others do not receive “os.” Bones receiving “os:” os frontale, os parietale, os occipitale, os temporale, os ethmoidale, os sphenoidale, os lacrimal, os palatinum, os zygomaticum and os nasale, bones without “os:” concha nasalis inferior, vomer, maxilla, and mandibula

If a suture occurs between a bone that receives “os” and a bone that does not receive “os,” the bone that receives “os” always comes first.

These include:

  • A03.1.02.015: Sutura frontomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.018: Sutura zygomaticomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.019: Sutura etmoidomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.021: Sutura sphenovomeralis
  • A03.1.02.023: Sutura sphenomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.026: Sutura nasomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.027: Sutura lacrimomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.028: Sutura lacrimoconchalis.

(B) If one of the bones that make up the suture belongs to the neurocranium and the other belongs to the viscerocranium, the name of the bone belonging to the neurocranium always comes first

These include:

  • A03.1.02.013: Sutura frontonasalis
  • A03.1.02.016: Sutura frontolacrimalis
  • A03.1.02.017: Sutura frontozygomatica
  • A03.1.02.020: Sutura ethmoidolacrimalis
  • A03.1.02.022: Sutura sphenozygomatica
  • A03.1.02.024: Sutura temporozygomatica
  • A03.1.02.015: Sutura frontomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.019: Sutura etmoidomaxillaris
  • A03.1.02.021: Sutura sphenovomeralis
  • A03.1.02.023: Sutura sphenomaxillaris.

There are 10 sutures in this group, but 4 of them (A03.1.02.015: Sutura frontomaxillaris, A03.1.02.019: Sutura etmoidomaxillaris, A03.1.02.021: Sutura sphenovomeralis, A03.1.02.023: Sutura sphenomaxillaris) were included in group A before. There are 6 sutures in this group (which were not previously in any group).

(C) When naming a suture formed between the general name of a bone and a part of another bone, the general name comes first.

These include:

  • A03.1.02.005: Sutura occipitomastoidea
  • A03.1.02.008: Sutura sphenosquamosa
  • A03.1.02.011: Sutura parietomastoidea.

(D) There are a total of 4 sutures that do not comply with the above 3 rules. The placement of the bones in the skull is taken into account when naming these sutures. The ones in the center of the skull come first and then the ones around.

These include:

  • A03.1.02.006: Sutura sphenofrontalis
  • A03.1.02.007: Sutura sphenoethmoidalis
  • A03.1.02.009: Sutura sphenoparietalis
  • A03.1.02.014: Sutura frontoethmoidalis.

Anatomical terms and clinical terms based on them form the basis of communication between people who are engaged in medical science and education in all over the world.[5],[6],[7],[8] Therefore, created terms must comply with certain rules to make this communication in a healthy way.

In TA, which we use today, two of the sutures (sutura ethmoidal lacrimalis and sutura sphenovomeralis) named after two bones are present but they are not present in 1895 BNA, 1933 INA, and 1955 PNA. However, it is available in Six Edition NA. The names of some sutures accepted in the BNA (sutura nasofrontalis, sutura zygomaticofrontalis, and sutura temporozygomatica) have been changed to the present state (sutura frontonasalis, sutura frontozygomatica, and sutura temporozygomatica) since they do not comply with the rule B we identified above.

Today, however, students may have difficulty in understanding anatomical terms, and faculty members sometimes have difficulty in answering the question of why from students. In this study, we tried to answer the questions of why. We hope that this study will benefit the new generation of anatomists.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Opperman LA. Cranial sutures as intramembranous bone growth sites. Dev Dyn 2000;219:472-85.  Back to cited text no. 1
Albay S, Sakallı B, Yonguç G, Kastamoni Y, Edizer M. Incidence and Morphometry of Sutural Bones. SDU Medical Faculty Journal 2013;20:1-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology. Terminologia Anatomica, International Anatomical Terminology. New York, USA: Thieme Stutgart; 1998. p. 292.  Back to cited text no. 3
Kopsch F, von Knese HB. Nomina anatomica. Comparative overview of Basel, Jena and Paris Nomenclature. 5 Ed. Stutgart, Deutschland: Georg Thieme Verlag; 1957. p. 155.  Back to cited text no. 4
Unur E, Ertekin T, Acer N, Cinar S, Ozcelik O, Cay M. Names which originate from plants within terminologia anatomica. J Turgut Ozal Med Cent 2016;23:488-91.  Back to cited text no. 5
Kachlik D, Baca V, Bozdechova I, Cech P, Musil V. Anatomical terminology and nomenclature: Past, present and highlights. Surg Radiol Anat 2008;30:459-66.  Back to cited text no. 6
Burdan F, Dworzański W, Cendrowska-Pinkosz M, Burdan M, Dworzańska A. Anatomical eponyms – Unloved names in medical terminology. Folia Morphol (Warsz) 2016;75:413-38.  Back to cited text no. 7
Sawai T. The emergence of modern muscle names: The contribution to the foundation of systematic terminology of Vesalius, Sylvius, and Bauhin. Anat Sci Int 2019;94:23-38.  Back to cited text no. 8


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