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Middle Fossa and Cavernous Sinus Anatomy

Surgical Correlation


Panoramic view of the right middle fossa and cavernous sinus structures. Neurovascular structures to the orbit can be seen traversing the superior orbital fissure and apex of the orbit. The ophthalmic artery and optic nerve course within the optic canal. The oculomotor, trochlear, opthalmic branch of the trigeminal, and the abducens nerves course through the superior orbital fissure. Bony removal has revealed several segments of the internal carotid artery, including petrous, cavernous, clinoid, and ophthalmic segments. The maxillary branch of trigeminal enters the pterygopalatine fossa through foramen rotundum and mandibular branch enters the infratemporal fossa through foramen ovale. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)