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Reflected Left Temporalis Muscle, Heads of Lateral Pterygoid, and Infratemporal Fossa

Surgical Correlation


Reflected left temporalis muscle, heads of lateral pterygoid, and infratemporal fossa. The zygomatic arch, coronoid process, and condylar process of the mandible have been removed and the temporalis muscle has been elevated to expose the infratemporal fossa and lateral pterygoid muscle. The latter consists of two heads: the superior head inserts into the articular capsule and disc of the temporomandibular joint, and an inferior head that attaches to the fovea on the neck of the mandible. The maxillary artery passes deep to the lateral pterygoid muscle in this dissection (usually passes superficial to it) but emerges distally where it is seen giving rise to the anterior deep temporal, muscular branches, posterior superior alveolar, and infraorbital arteries before giving rise to the sphenopalatine artery, which enters the pterygopalatine fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure. The buccinator muscle fills the lower left side of the image. The buccal nerve, a sensory branch of the mandibular nerve, is seen emerging between the two heads of the lateral pterygoid muscle. (Image courtesy of PA Rubino)