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Inferior View of Cranial Base

Surgical Correlation

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E, Some of the lateral pterygoid muscle has been removed to expose the branches of the mandibular nerve in the infratemporal fossa. The lower part of the pterygoid process has been removed to expose the maxillary artery in the pterygopalatine fossa. The pharyngeal recess (fossa of Rosenmüller) projects laterally from the posterolateral corner of the nasopharynx below the foramen lacerum. F, Enlarged view. The pterygopalatine fossa is located between the posterior maxillary wall anteriorly, the sphenoid pterygoid process posteriorly, the perpendicular plate of the palatine bone medially, and the infratemporal fossa laterally. The medial part of the eustachian tube has been removed. G, The pterygoid process has been removed to expose the maxillary nerve passing through the foramen rotundum to enter the pterygopalatine fossa, where it gives rise to the infraorbital and zygomatic nerves and communicating rami to the pterygopalatine ganglion. The vidian nerve exits the vidian canal and joins the pterygopalatine ganglion. The terminal part of the petrous carotid is exposed above the foramen lacerum. H, Enlarged view of the region of the carotid canal and jugular foramen. The bone below the carotid canal has been removed to expose the petrous carotid. The deep portion of the parotid gland has been removed to expose the facial nerve at the styloid foramen. The sigmoid sinus hooks downward from the posterior fossa and opens into the internal jugular vein. A portion of the occipital condyle has been removed to expose the hypoglossal nerve joining the nerves exiting the jugular foramen to pass downward in the carotid sheath. The styloid process and facial nerve at the stylomastoid foramen are located on the lateral side of the internal jugular vein. The right half of the floor of the sphenoid sinus has been removed to expose the sella. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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