Pterygopalatine fossa

Pterygopalatine fossa: Anatomy & ContentsKey facts about the anatomy of the pterygopalatine fossa.
~ 3 min

On the lateral surface of the skull, slightly below and deeper than the infratemporal fossa, lies the pterygopalatine fossa (fossa pterygopalatina). It contains the pterygopalatine ganglion.

Pterygopalatine fossa (fossa pterygopalatina)
Pterygopalatine fossa (fossa pterygopalatina)

It has four walls:

  • The anterior wall is formed by the maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae)

Maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae)
Maxillary tuberosity (tuber maxillae)
  • The roof is formed by the maxillary surface of the greater wing of sphenoidal bone (facies maxillaris alae majoris ossis sphenoidalis)

    Sphenoid bone (os sphenoidale)
    Sphenoid bone (os sphenoidale)
    Maxillary surface (facies maxillaris)
    Maxillary surface (facies maxillaris)
  • The posterior wall is formed by the pterygoid process of sphenoidal bone (processus pterygoideus ossis sphenoidalis)

    Pterygoid process (processus pterygoideus)
    Pterygoid process (processus pterygoideus)
  • The medial wall is formed by the perpendicular plate of the palatine bone (lamina perpendicularis ossis palatini)

Perpendicular plate of the palatine bone (lamina perpendicularis ossis palatini)
Perpendicular plate of the palatine bone (lamina perpendicularis ossis palatini)

On the lateral side, the pterygopalatine fossa is connected to the infratemporal fossa by the pterygomaxillary fissure (fissura pterygomaxillaris).

Pterygomaxillary fissure (fissura pterygomaxillaris)
Pterygomaxillary fissure (fissura pterygomaxillaris)

There are also several other openings within the fossa, through which it is connected to adjacent cavities:

Title Connection
Inferior orbital fissure
(fissura orbitalis inferior)
Orbit
Inferior orbital fissure (fissura orbitalis inferior)
Inferior orbital fissure (fissura orbitalis inferior)
Sphenopalatine foramen
(foramen sphenopalatinum)
Nasal cavity
Sphenopalatine foramen (foramen sphenopalatinum)
Sphenopalatine foramen (foramen sphenopalatinum)
Foramen rotundum Middle cranial fossa
Foramen rotundum
Foramen rotundum
Pterygoid canal
(canalis pterygoideus)
Cranial base
Pterygoid canal (canalis pterygoideus)
Pterygoid canal (canalis pterygoideus)
Greater palatine canal
(canalis palatinus major)
Oral cavity
Greater palatine canal (canalis palatinus major)
Greater palatine canal (canalis palatinus major)
Dictionary

Pterygopalatine fossa

pterygopalatine fossa
fossa pterygopalatina
maxillary tuberosity
tuber maxillae
maxillary surface of greater wing of sphenoidal bone
facies maxillaris alae majoris ossis sphenoidalis
pterygoid process of sphenoidal bone
processus pterygoideus ossis sphenoidalis
perpendicular plate of palatine bone
lamina perpendicularis ossis palatini
pterygomaxillary fissure
fissura pterygomaxillaris
inferior orbital fissure
fissura orbitalis inferior
sphenopalatine foramen
foramen sphenopalatinum
foramen rotundum
foramen rotundum
pterygoid canal
canalis pterygoideus
greater palatine canal
canalis palatinus major
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