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Parasellar and Middle Fossa Anatomy

Surgical Correlation


Posterior superior view of the parasellar and middle fossa areas. Selective bony and dural removal reveals the pituitary gland within the sella turcica bounded between the tuberculum and dorsum sellae. Various segments of the internal carotid artery (petrous, cavernous, clinoidal, ophthalmic) have been exposed as well as the oculomotor, trochear, trigeminal, and abducens nerves. The optic nerve and ophthalmic artery are shown entering the optic canal. The oculomotor, trochlear, and ophthalmic nerves converge on the superior orbital fissure, and the maxillary and mandibular nerves course toward the foramen rotundum and ovale, respectively. The middle meningeal artery is seen emerging through the foramen spinosum. Note the course of the abducens nerve beneath the petrosphenoidal ligament to enter the cavernous sinus. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)