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Osseous Relationships of the Anterior and Middle Cranial Base

Surgical Correlation

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I, Lateral view of the pterygomaxillary fissure. The pterygomaxillary fissure is located between the posterior maxillary wall and the pterygoid process. The pterygomaxillary fissure opens from the infratemporal fossa into the pterygopalatine fossa. The mandibular fossa is formed above by the squamosal part of the temporal bone and posteriorly by the tympanic part of the temporal bone, which also forms the anterior and lower wall of the external auditory meatus. J, Anterior view through the maxillary sinus. The anterior and posterior walls of the maxillary sinus have been removed to expose the pterygoid process, which forms the posterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa. The lower part of the superior orbital fissure is seen through the upper part of the maxillary sinus. The foramen rotundum opens into the pterygopalatine fossa and is separated from the superior orbital fissure by the maxillary strut. The vidian canal opens through the pterygoid process below the medial to the foramen rotundum. K, Anterior view of a cranium sectioned through the posterior part of the ethmoid and maxillary sinuses. The ethmoidal sinuses are located anterior to the sphenoid body and sphenoid sinus. The part of the posterior wall of the maxilla forming the anterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa has been preserved. The perpendicular plate of the palatine bone forms the medial wall of the pterygopalatine fossa. The ethmoidal sinus overlaps the lateral margin of the sphenoid ostia. The superior orbital fissure is located between the lesser and greater sphenoid wing and sphenoid body. The infratemporal fossa is located below the greater wing of the sphenoid. The temporal fossa, which contains the temporalis muscle, is located between the greater wing and the zygomatic arch. L, The posterior wall of the maxilla and ethmoidal sinuses have been removed to expose the sphenoid sinus and pterygopalatine fossa. The lateral wing of the sphenoid sinus extends laterally into the pterygoid process below the foramen rotundum. Septae divide the sphenoid sinus. The vidian canal opens through the base of the pterygoid process into the pterygopalatine fossa. M, The osseous cross section has been extended posteriorly to just in front of the superior orbital fissure. The optic strut extends from the base of the anterior clinoid to the sphenoid body and separates the optic canal from the superior orbital fissure. The foramen rotundum is located below the medial part of the superior orbital fissure. The vidian canal opens into the pterygopalatine fossa below and medial to the foramen rotundum. N, Posterior view of the specimen in K showing the anterior part of the middle fossa from behind. The superior orbital fissure is positioned below the lesser sphenoid wing. The optic strut extends from the base of the anterior clinoid to the sphenoid body and separates the optic canal from the superior orbital fissure. The greater wing extends laterally to form part of the floor and anterior and lateral wall of the middle fossa. The medial and lateral pterygoid plates project backward from the pterygoid process. The horizontal plate of the palatine bone forms the posterior part of the hard plate. The posterior opening into the vidian canal is located above the medial pterygoid plate and extends forward through the pterygoid process at its junction with the sphenoid body. (Images courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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