Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to fontanelle: sunken fontanelle


one of the membrane-covered spaces remaining at the junction of the sutures in the incompletely ossified skull of the fetus or infant. Actually there are two soft spots close together, representing gaps in the bone structure which will be filled in by bone during the normal process of growth. The anterior fontanelle is diamond shaped and lies at the junction of the frontal and parietal bones. This fontanelle usually fills in and closes between the eighth and fifteenth months of life. The posterior fontanelle lies at the junction of the occipital and parietal bones, is triangular in shape, and usually closes by the third or fourth month of life. Though these “soft spots” may appear very vulnerable, they may be touched gently without harm. Care should be exercised that they be protected from strong pressure or direct injury.
Fontanelles. From Jarvis, 2000.


(fon'tă-nel'), [TA]
One of several membranous intervals between the angles and margins of the cranial bones in the infant; they include the midline anterior and posterior fontanelles, and the paired sphenoidal and mastoid fontanelles. See: cranial fontanelles.
[Fr. dim. of fontaine, fountain, spring]


/fon·ta·nelle/ (fon″tah-nel´) a soft spot, such as one of the membrane-covered spaces remaining at the junction of the sutures in the incompletely ossified skull of the fetus or infant.


A non-ossified area of membranous bone, in particular of the skull in an infant. Fonticulus is the accepted Terminologia Anatomica name; fontanelle is widely preferred in the working medical parlance.


(fon'tă-nel') [TA]
One of several membranous intervals at the margins of the cranial bones in the infant.
Synonym(s): fonticulus [TA] .
[Fr. dim. of fontaine, fountain, spring]


, fontanelle (fŏn″tă-nĕl′) [Fr. fontanelle, little fountain]
Enlarge picture
Any of the tough, fibrous membranes lying between the bones of the cranial vault of a fetus or infant. Fontanels, colloquially known as soft spots, allow an infant's skull to be compressed during passage through the birth canal. The fontanels ossify generally by age two. See: illustration

anterior fontanel

The diamond-shaped junction of the coronal, frontal, and sagittal sutures; it becomes ossified within 18 to 24 months.

posterior fontanel

The triangular fontanel at the junction of the sagittal and lambdoid sutures; ossified generally by age one.


a gap in the skull bone where the brain and its membranes are covered only by skin. Young human infants possess an anterior fontanelle between frontal and parietal bones on top of the head, and a posterior fontanelle between occipital and parietal bones at the back of the head.


One of several "soft spots" on the skull where the developing bones of the skull have yet to fuse.

fontanelle, fontanel

a soft spot; skin and membrane-covered spaces remaining at the junction of the sutures, especially between the frontal and parietal bones in the incompletely covered skull of the fetus or neonate. This fontanelle usually closes after birth but in hydrocephalus and in some miniature breeds of dogs, particularly Chihuahuas, it may remain open. Called also fonticulus, molera.
References in periodicals archive ?
The haematoma did not require evacuation and the infant was admitted for 48 hours of neurological observation, during which time she was asymptomatic, the fontanelle remained soft and a cranial ultrasound showed no evidence of mass effect.
Villa Fontanelle was said to be the favorite home of the designer, who was shot dead in Miami in 1997.
Officers on Saturday responded to reports of a shooting in Van Nuys and found Fontanelle lying in the 6600 block of Sepulveda Boulevard.
Bustling Dunstable unsettled Halesowen and created space down the left at will before regaining the lead on 20 minutes when Anthony Fontanelle followed up to scramble home from six yards.
The hypocrisy pinpointed by Voltaire was also remarked by Fontanelle (the third occupant of armchair 27):
The actual remedy was: Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) "Motswako" (83%), Phillips Milk of Causes of diarrhoea were believed to be: teething (51%), exposure to too much sun (14%), learning to talk/sit/walk (6%), germs (4%), overconsumption of milk (3%), laxative (3%), and pulsating fontanelle (2%).
The cranial roof of white sharks has an epiphysial bar and epiphysial fenestrum just behind the anterior fontanelle, but this is absent in postnatal crania of shortfin makos, porbeagles, and Sanzo's embryo (Compagno, 1990).
Vitamin A toxicity can lead to abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, papilledema, and bulging fontanelle.
Symptoms include fever, lethargy, vomiting, headache, seizures, lack of appetite, stiff neck, and a bulging fontanelle in infants.
Patient management was divided into three groups based on risk of shunt removal or externalization and presence of an open fontanelle (Fig 4).
It called for the demolition of a Depression-era development, Logan Fontanelle, instead of spending nine million dollars to renovate it.
Food, such as whole taro or coconuts, was thrown into the fontanelle at the top of the skull and rejected again undigested, causing these primordial beings, who were not mobile but lived sitting down to be surrounded by their own excrement of taro tubers and coconuts (Panoff 1970:244).