Vidian canal and sphenoid sinus: an MDCT and cadaveric study of useful landmarks in skull base surgery

  • Georgia PapavasileiouEmail author
  • Jiannis Hajiioannou
  • Eutixia Kapsalaki
  • Ioannis Bizakis
  • Ioannis Fezoulidis
  • Katerina Vassiou
Original Article



To present the anatomical variations of vidian canal (VC) and sphenoid sinus (SS), relative to other anatomical landmarks of skull base area, which may be helpful for safer surgical approach to this area.


MDCT scans (128-row MDCT system) of 90 patients (mean age 62 years) and six cadaveric heads were studied, and the following parameters were evaluated: mean length and types of VC, distance between VC and foramen rotundum (FR) and optic canal (OC), position of the VC regarding the lateral pterygoid plate (MPTG) and petrous ICA, pneumatization of SS, position of intrasinus septum regarding ICA and OC, bone dehiscence and protrusion of ICA and OC into SS. Six cadaveric heads underwent MDCT and endoscopic dissection, and the type and length of VC were evaluated. The statistical significance was assessed using Chi-square (χ2) test. Significance level was set at p < 0.05.


A statistical analysis was performed between the measurements at both sides, as well as between measurements in MDCT and dissection of the six cadaveric heads. Statistically significant difference was found between right and left sides in the horizontal and vertical distances between FR and VC, as well as between VC and OC. Also, there was a statistically positive correlation between type II of VC and lateral pneumatization on the right side. There was not statistically significant difference concerning VC type and length between MDCT and dissection measurements.


Surgeons addressing skull base surgery must be familiar with the anatomical and positional variations of VC and SS in the preoperative CT images so as to avoid serious complications during surgery.


Vidian canal Sphenoid sinus Computed tomography scan Skull base surgery 


Author contributions

GP was involved in project development, data collection and manuscript writing; IH contributed to project development and manuscript editing; EK analyzed the data; IB performed data management and manuscript editing; IF was involved in data analysis and manuscript editing; KV performed protocol development, data management and manuscript editing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Research involving human participants and/or animals

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of RadiologyUniversity Hospital of LarissaLarissaGreece
  2. 2.Department of OtorhinolaryngologyUniversity Hospital of LarissaLarissaGreece
  3. 3.Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, BiopolisUniversity of ThessalyLarissaGreece

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