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Osseous Relationships of the Anterior and Middle Cranial Base

Surgical Correlation


E, The cranial base is formed, in the lateral view, from anterior to posterior, by the maxilla and the frontal, zygomatic, sphenoid, temporal, and occipital bones. The zygomatic and frontal bones form the lateral part of the orbital rim. The pterion on the greater sphenoid wing marks the lateral end of the sphenoid ridge. The keyhole, a burr hole that exposes the dura of the anterior fossa and the periorbita in its depth, is located just above the frontozygomatic suture, behind the superior temporal line. The zygomatic arch is formed by the zygomatic bone and the squamosal part of the temporal bone. The condylar fossa, in which the mandibular condyle sits, is positioned above on the lower surface of the squamosal part of the temporal bone and posteriorly on the tympanic part of the temporal bone. The lower end of the pterygoid process unites with the posterior maxilla, but above, the process separates from the maxilla to create the pterygomaxillary fissure, which opens medially into the pterygopalatine fossa. F, Inferior view of a cross extending through the maxillae. The maxilla, which contains a large air-filled sinus, forms the anteromedial wall of the infratemporal fossa, the anterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa, the lateral wall of the nasal cavity, the anterior portion of the hard palate, and much of the floor of the orbit. The pterygopalatine fossa is located between the pterygoid process and the posterior maxillary wall. The nasal septum is formed anteriorly and above by the perpendicular ethmoid plate and posteriorly and below by the vomer. G, The right half of the maxilla and zygomatic arch has been removed. The inferior orbital fissure is located between the greater sphenoid wing and the maxilla. The right orbital roof and ethmoid air cells have been preserved. The right pterygoid process has been removed at its junction with the sphenoid body. The roof of the vidian canal, which extends through the base of the pterygoid process, has been preserved. H, Anteroinferior view of the cranial base. The midline of the cranial base is formed, from anterior to posterior, by the frontal, ethmoid, sphenoid, and occipital bones. The roof the orbit is formed by the frontal bone and lesser sphenoid wing. The ethmoidal sinuses are located anterior to the sphenoid sinus between the orbits. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)