3D Models Related Images

Inferior View of Cranial Structures in a Transverse Section at the Level of the Atlas (C1)

Surgical Correlation


Inferior view of cranial structures in a transverse section at the level of the atlas (C1). For orientation, the anterior part of the head is toward the top border of the image, the posterior part is toward the bottom of the image. Anteriorly, the spaciousness of the maxillary sinuses can be seen. Medial to these is the nasal cavity, divided by the nasal septum. The nasolacrimal ducts are seen in transverse view at the anterior end of the inferior meatus and turbinate. Posterior to the posterolateral wall of the maxillary sinus is the infratemporal fossa containing, in this view, the lateral pterygoid muscle, pterygoid venous plexus, branches of the mandibular nerve, and the maxillary artery. The lateral border of this space is bounded by the ramus of the mandible, whose lateral surface is covered by the masseter muscle. The medial border of this space is bounded by the lateral plate of the pterygoid process. Between the lateral and medial pterygoid plates, within the pterygoid fossa, are the medial pterygoid and tensor veli palatini muscles. The pterygoid process serves as the posterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa. The terminal portion of the maxillary artery is shown on the right side of this image entering the pterygopalatine fossa via the pterygomaxillary fissure. Posterior to the nasal septum and pterygoid processes and base of the skull is the nasopharynx. The Eustachian tube is located in its lateral wall and borders the petrous portion of the temporal bone. Here, cross-sections of the internal carotid artery and internal jugular vein can be seen. Posterior to the ramus of the mandible is the parotid gland through which ascends the external carotid artery. In the posterior midline of the image, the dens can be seen ascending behind the anterior arch of the atlas and profiles of the vertebral arteries are visible within transverse foramina. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)