Lateral View of the Infratemporal Fossa
Lateral perspective of the infratemporal fossa. The zygomatic arch and most of the ramus of the mandible have been removed to expose the infratemporal fossa. The inferior head of the lateral pterygoid muscle has been removed to reveal the medial pterygoid muscle arising from the medial surface of the lateral pterygoid plate (deep head) and maxillary tuberosity (superficial head). The maxillary artery, the largest terminal branch of the external carotid, gives off multiple muscular and bone-supplying branches (inferior alveolar, middle meningeal, pterygoid, buccal, deep temporal, posterior superior alveolar). The mandibular nerve after passing through the foramen ovale gives rise to the auriculotemporal nerve, whose roots enclose the middle meningeal artery that enters the foramen spinosum, motor branches to the muscles of mastication, and the buccal, lingual, and inferior alveolar nerves. The nerve to mylohoid (motor to the mylohyoid and anterior digastric muscles) arises from the inferior alveolar before that nerve enters the mandibular foramen. The maxillary vein (cut) is a short vessel formed by consolidation of the pterygoid venous plexus.