, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 159-164
Date: 18 Sep 2009

Incidence, morphology and morphometry of the foramen of Vesalius: complementary study for a safer planning and execution of the trigeminal rhizotomy technique

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Abstract

Background

The foramen of Vesalius (FV) is located in the greater wing of the sphenoid bone between the foramen ovale (FO) and the foramen rotundum in an intracranial view. The FO allows the passage of the mandibular branch of trigeminal nerve, which is the target of the trigeminal radiofrequency rhizotomy.

Objective

We analyzed its location, morphology, morphometry and interrelation among other foramina.

Materials and methods

400 macerated adult human skulls were examined. A digital microscope (Dino-Lite plus®) was used to capture images from the FV. A digital caliper was used to perform the measurements of the distance between the FV and other foramina (FO, foramen spinosum and the carotid canal) in an extracranial view of the skull base.

Results

In the 400 analyzed skulls, the FV was identified in 135 skulls (33.75%) and absent on both sides in 265 skulls (66.25%). The FV was observed present bilaterally in 15.5% of the skulls. The incidence of unilateral foramen was 18.25% of the skulls of which 7.75% on right side and 10.5% on left side. The diameter of the FV was measured and we found an average value of 0.65 mm, on right side 0.63 mm and on the left side 0.67 mm. We verified that positive correlations were statistically significant among the three analyzed distances.

Conclusions

This study intends to offer specific anatomical data with morphological patterns (macroscopic and mesoscopic) to increase the understanding of the FV features as frequency, incidence and important distances among adjacent foramina.