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Transcranial View of Head at Coronal Plane through Orbital Apex

Surgical Correlation

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Transcranial view of head at coronal plane through orbital apex. The lesser wings of the sphenoid bone contain the optic canals for transmission of the optic nerve and ophthalmic artery to the orbit. The optic foramen and a portion of the superior orbital fissure are encircled by a thickening of periorbita called the annulus of Zinn or common tendinous ring. The recti muscles (superior, medial, lateral, inferior) of the eyeball have proximal attachments here. Medial to the lesser wings is the body of the sphenoid containing the sphenoid sinus and whose sella turcica contains the pituitary gland. Along the lateral surface of the body are the cavernous segments of the internal carotid arteries. Below the floor of the orbit is the foramen rotundum transmitting the maxillary nerve and inferomedial to this is the Vidian canal transmitting the Vidian nerve. Both open their contents to the pterygopalatine fossa. The pterygopalatine ganglion, a parasympathetic ganglion, is located in this fossa and postganglionic fibers from it are carried to target tissues along branches of the maxillary nerve. The maxillary artery is shown having entered this space from the infratemporal fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure. Branches of the artery as well as the maxillary nerve travel medially through the sphenopalatine foramen to enter and supply the nasal cavity. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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