Morphometric features of asterion in adult human skulls


  • Seema Deepak Department of Anatomy, Mysore Medical College & Research Institute, RGUHS, Mysore, Karnataka
  • Dakshayani KR Department of Anatomy, Mysore Medical College & Research Institute, RGUHS, Mysore, Karnataka



Asterion, Transverse sinus, Mastoid process, Approach to posterior cranial fossa


Background: Asterion is the meeting point of temporal, occipital and parietal bones on the posterolateral surface of skull and surgically an important point of reference for approaching the posterior cranial fossa structures. However surgeons have been skeptical about its reliability due to population based differences in its morphology, distance with other external landmarks and also to sigmoid and transverse sinuses.

Methods: In this study 50 (27 male & 23 female) adult skulls were investigated to determine the type of asterion, its distance from important bony landmarks and also the nearby venous sinuses were measured.

Results: Our study revealed that type II (absence of sutural bones) was commoner than type I (presence of sutural bones) asterion. The asterion was 4.82 ± 0.58 cm from tip of the mastoid process on the right side and 4.70 ± 0.70 cm on the left. It was greater in males than in females, p value being statistically significant (P = 0.00 & P = 0.02 for right & left sides respectively). The distance of asterion from supramastoid crest was 4.22 ± 0.73 cm on the right and 4.23+/-0.58 cm on the left. The distance in males was more than in females. The P value 0.00 was statistically significant on the right side. Regarding the position of the asterion in relation to transverse sinus, it was on the transverse sinus in 62% cases, below it in 32% and above in 6%.

Conclusions: The data obtained shows that the asterion is located either at the level or below the level of the transverse sinus in majority of the cases. This information is useful to neurosurgeons to reduce the risk during posterior cranial fossa surgeries. This work will also be useful to anthropologists, forensic science experts for determination of sex of the skull along with other parameters.



Dutta AK. Introduction to skull. In: Dutta AK, eds. Essentials of Human Anatomy Head & neck Part II. 3rd ed. Calcutta: Current Books International; 1999: 1-69.

Mwachaka PM, Hassanali J, Odula P. Sutural morphology of the pterion and asterion among adult Kenyans. Braz J Morphol Sci. 2009;26(1):4-7.

Singh R. Incidence of sutural bones at asterion in adult Indian skulls. Int J Morphol. 2012;30(3):1182-6.

Day JD, Kellog JX, Tschabitscher M, Fukushima T. Surface and superficial surgical anatomy of the posterolateral cranial base: significance for surgical planning and approach. Neurosurgery. 1996;38:1079-84.

Uz A, Ugur HC, Tekdemir I. Is the asterion a reliable landmark for the lateral approach to posterior fossa? J Clin Neurosci. 2001;8:146-7.

Martinez F, Laxague A, Vida L, Prinzo H, Sgarbi N, Soria VR, et al. Anatomia topografica del asterion. Neurocirgia. 2005;16:441-6.

Leon SG, Rodriguez AN, Avalos RM, Theriot Giron M, Omana REE, Lopez SG. Morphometric characteristics of the asterion and the posterolateral surface of the skull: relationship with dural venous sinuses and neurosurgical importance. Cir Cir. 2013;81:251-5.

Berry AC, Berry AJ. Epigenetic variation in the human cranium. J Anat. 1967;101:361-79.

Kellock WL, Parson PA. A comparison of the incidence of minor nonmetrical cranial variants in Australian aborigines with those of Melanesia and Polynesia. Am J Phys Anthropol. 1970;33(2)235-40.

Gumusburun E, Sevim A, Katkici U, Adiguzel E, Gulec E. A study of sutural bones in Anatolian Ottoman skulls. Int J Anthropol. 1997;12(2):43-8.

Saheb HS, Mavishettar GF, Thomas ST, Prasanna LC, Muralidhar LC, Muralidhar P, Magi. A study of sutural morphology of the pterion and asterion among human adult Indian skulls. Biomed Res. 2011;22(10):73-5.

Sudha R, Sridevi C, Ezhilarasi M. Anatomical variations in the formation of pterion and asterion in south Indian population. Int J Cur Res Rev. 2013;5(9):92-100.

Ucerler H, Govsa F. Asterion as asurgical landmark for the lateral cranial base approaches. J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2006;34:415-20.

Xia Y, Li X, Han D, Zheng J, Long H, Shi J. Anatomic structural study of cerebellopontine angle via endoscope. Chin Med J. 2007;120(20):1836-9.

Suazo GIC, Zavando MDA, Smith RI. Sex determination using mastoid process measurements in Brazilian skulls. Int J Morphol. 2008;26(4):941-4.

Mwachaka PM, Hassanali J, Odula P. Anatomic position of the asterion in Kenyans for posterolateral surgical approaches to cranial cavity. Clin Anat. 2010 Jan;23(1):30-3.

Selman MO. Metric study of the sigmoid sinus plate in relation to suprameatal (Macewan’s) triangle. Iraqi J Med Sci. 2011;9(1):86-91.




How to Cite

Deepak, S., & KR, D. (2017). Morphometric features of asterion in adult human skulls. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 3(6), 1325–1328.



Original Research Articles