The pterygopalatine fossa: An anatomic report

Fabio Roberti, Nicola Boari, Pietro Mortini, Anthony J. Caputy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) is a small anatomic region of particular interest in cranial base surgery. Infectious diseases and malignancy may spread through the PPF to contiguous areas as a result of the low resistance offered by the numerous foramina and fissures that surrounds the fossa. We present an anatomic report on the PPF. Twelve sides of six fixed cadaveric heads were dissected through a LeFort I maxillary osteotomy with transantral exposure of the neurovascular content of the PPF. Arterial vascular patterns of the maxillary artery were observed. The pterygopalatine fossa is a deeply located small anatomic region with a rich neurovascular content. The third portion of the maxillary artery in the PPF may demonstrate a variable vascular morphology. A correct understanding and knowledge of the anatomic structures lodged into the PPF, as well as their relationships and functions, remain crucial to minimizing postsurgical morbidity and intraoperative complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-590
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2007



  • Anatomic study
  • Pterygopalatine fossa
  • Sphenopalatine ganglion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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