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J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006 Oct;106(10):600-4.

Significance of differences in patency among cranial sutures.

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Department of Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine, New York Institute of Technology, Old Westbury, NY, USA.

Erratum in

  • J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2006 Dec;106(12):688.



To evaluate the gross external characteristics of the coronal, lambdoid, and sagittal sutures in human cadaver skulls and determine if a difference exists in terms of patency, sex, and age.


The coronal, lambdoid, and sagittal sutures were described using a modified grading scale to quantify sutural patency. An open suture was graded as 0, a fused suture as 1, and an obliterated suture as 2, 3, or 4, depending on the extent of obliteration.


Thirty-six skulls were examined, including 17 female and 19 male (age range, 56-101 y). When compared with the sagittal suture, the lambdoid suture was significantly more likely to be patent and least likely to be obliterated. No significant difference in suture grades was found between female and male skulls, and no significant difference was found between age and suture grade.


The prolonged patency of the lambdoid suture may be due to external forces, such as the greater number of muscles affecting the lambdoid suture when compared with the sagittal suture.

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