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Anterior Fossa, Orbit, and Perinasal Sinuses

Surgical Correlation


A, Superior view. The anterior cranial fossa is formed by the frontal, ethmoid, and sphenoid bones. The frontal bone splits anteriorly into two laminae, which enclose the frontal sinus. The ethmoid bones, which contain the ethmoid air cells and are the site of the crista galli and cribriform plate, are interposed between the frontal bones. Posteriorly, the frontal and ethmoid bones join the sphenoid bone, which encloses the sphenoid sinus and has the pituitary fossa on its upper surface. The olfactory bulbs and tracts have been preserved. B, The roof of the right orbit has been removed to expose the periorbita. The right anterior clinoid process and roof of the optic canal have been removed to expose the optic nerve enclosed within the optic sheath as it passes through the optic canal to reach the orbital apex. C, The frontal, trochlear, and lacrimal nerves can be seen through the periorbita. The trochlear nerve crosses above the orbital apex to reach the superior oblique muscle. D, The orbital fat has been removed and the sphenoid sinus opened. The frontal branch of the ophthalmic nerve courses above the levator muscle. The ophthalmic artery, nasociliary nerve, and superior ophthalmic vein are located medially in the anterior part of the orbit and cross between the optic nerve and superior rectus muscle to be situated on the lateral side of the optic nerve at the orbital apex. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)