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Nasal Cavity, Orbits, and Maxillary Sinuses

Surgical Correlation

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A, Anterior view of a coronal section, anterior to the sphenoid sinus, through the nasal cavity, orbits, and maxillary sinuses. The upper part of the nasal cavity is separated from the orbits by the ethmoidal sinuses. The lower part of the nasal cavity is bounded laterally by the maxillary sinuses. The middle concha projects medially from the lateral nasal wall at the junction of the roof of the maxillary and ethmoidal sinuses. The posterior ethmoid air cells are located in front of the lateral part of the sphenoid sinus. B, The middle and inferior nasal conchae on the left side and the nasal septum and the posterior ethmoidal sinuses on both sides have been removed to expose the posterior nasopharyngeal wall, the anterior aspect of the sphenoid body, and the sphenoid ostia. The posterior ethmoid air cells overlap the lateral margin of the sphenoid ostia. C, Enlarged view showing the relationships of the nasal cavity, pterygopalatine and infratemporal fossae, orbit, and sphenoid sinus. The nasopharynx is located below the sphenoid sinus. The pterygopalatine fossa is located in the lateral wall of the nasal cavity behind the upper part of the maxillary sinus and below the orbital apex. The posterior maxillary wall is so thin that the maxillary artery coursing in the pterygopalatine fossa can be seen through the bone. The sphenopalatine branch of the maxillary artery passes through the sphenopalatine foramen to reach the walls of the nasal cavity and the sphenoid face. D, The posterior wall of the maxillary sinus has been removed to expose the pterygopalatine and infratemporal fossae and the internal carotid artery and nerves coursing through the cavernous sinus. The maxillary artery passes through the infratemporal fossa and enters the pterygopalatine fossa, where it gives rise to branches that follow the branches of the maxillary nerve. Some of these arteries course along the sphenoid face where careful hemostasis during transsphenoidal surgery reduces the need for nasal packing after transsphenoidal operations. The maxillary nerve exits the foramen rotundum to enter the pterygopalatine fossa, where it gives rise to the infraorbital and greater palatine nerves and communicating rami to the pterygopalatine ganglion. The eustachian tube opens into the nasopharynx along the posterior edge of the medial pterygoid plate. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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