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Anterior View of Maxilla and Sphenoid Bones

Surgical Correlation


Anterior view of maxilla and sphenoid bones. The left maxillary bone is intact, while on the right side only a portion of it remains. The single sphenoid bone articulates with the maxillary bones. The superior orbital fissure is an oblique space between the lesser and greater wings of the sphenoid. It communicates the orbit anteriorly with the middle cranial fossa posteriorly. The inferior orbital fissure is a space between the greater wing of sphenoid and the orbital surface of the body of the maxilla. This space communicates the floor of the orbit anteriorly with the infratemporal fossa posterolaterally and the pterygopalatine fossa posteromedially. The midline body of the sphenoid contains the sphenoid sinuses. In this view, the foramen rotundum is seen as a circular opening in the base of the greater wing inferior to the superior orbital fissure. It opens into the posterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa and transmits the maxillary nerve. The pterygoid (Vidian) canal is a bony passage at the base of the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone and also opens into the posterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa inferomedial to the foramen rotundum. This canal transmits the greater petrosal and deep petrosal nerves (Vidian nerve) from the middle cranial fossa to the pterygopalatine ganglion. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)