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Dissection of the Right Infratemporal Fossa

Surgical Correlation

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Dissection of the Right Infratemporal Fossa. A, Superolateral view of the right infratemporal fossa. The middle fossa floor has been removed to expose the branches of the mandibular nerve. The masseteric and deep temporal nerves pass above the pterygoid venous plexus and the upper head of the lateral pterygoid muscle. B, The mandibular ramus has been removed to pterygoid muscles. The buccal nerve passes anterolaterally between the upper and lower heads of the lateral pterygoid muscles. C, The mandibular condyle and the lateral pterygoid muscle have been reflected anteriorly to expose the branches of the maxillary artery and mandibular nerve. The auriculotemporal nerve runs backward medial to the lateral pterygoid muscle to the neck of the mandible. The middle meningeal artery passes between the two roots of the auriculotemporal nerve. D, Enlarged view of the branches of the mandibular nerve. The anterior division of the mandibular nerve passes in the horizontal plane just below the pericranium of the infratemporal surface of the middle cranial fossa. The chorda tympani nerve enters the infratemporal fossa through the petrotympanic fissure, descends medial to the auriculotemporal and inferior alveolar nerves, and joins the lingual nerve. E, The lateral pterygoid muscle has been removed to pterygoid nerves. The medial pterygoid nerve originates from the medial aspect of the main trunk below the foramen ovale close to the otic ganglion. The tensor veli palatini muscle is located medial to the branches of the mandibular nerve. F, The lesser petrosal nerve emerging through the roof of the tympanic cavity of the temporal bone passes along the tensor tympani muscle anterolaterally to enter the otic ganglion. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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