Temporal fossa

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


The temporal fossa has the following borders:

  • anterior: posterior surface of the frontal process of the zygomatic bone and posterior surface of the zygomatic process of the frontal bone;
  • superior and posterior: pair of temporal lines (superior and inferior temporal lines);
  • inferior: medially - infratemporal crest of the greater wing of the sphenoid, and laterally - zygomatic arch;
  • medial: outer surfaces of the frontal, parietal, temporal and sphenoid bones;
  • lateral: temporal fascia.


The temporal fossa accommodates several nerves and blood vessels passing this area, and it is the origin site of one of the masticatory muscles, namely, the temporal muscle, which also 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;
  • blood vessels: deep temporal arteries, superficial temporal artery, superior temporal artery, superior temporal vein;
  • muscle: temporal muscle.