Endoscopic transvestibular anatomy of the infratemporal fossa and upper parapharyngeal spaces for clinical surgery: a cadaver study

  • Yi Fang
  • Haitao Wu
  • Weidong Zhao
  • Lei ChengEmail author
Head & Neck



To investigate the anatomy of the infratemporal fossa (ITF) and to discuss the practicality of endoscopic transvestibular surgery for an ITF tumor.


Five fresh cadaveric specimens (10 sides) with vascular silicone injection were prepared for endoscopic anatomy. A transvestibular vertical incision was made along the ramus of the mandible, and pivotal nerves, arteries, and muscles were exposed to sculpt the anatomic landmarks of the ITF.


The endoscopic transvestibular approach exposed the detailed structure of the ITF. The buccinator muscle and the adjoining superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle shaped the paramedian border of the ITF, while the medial pterygoid muscle (MPM) and the lateral pterygoid muscle formed the lateral border. The ITF was delimited by the skull base in the upper margin, and it was proximal to the parapharyngeal space in the inferior part. The inferior alveolar nerve was the first reference point, and the maxillary artery and the lateral pterygoid muscle were also the landmarks of the ITF. The lingual nerve, the eustachian tube (ET), and the middle meningeal artery were also located in the posterior part of the ITF.


The endoscopic transvestibular approach provides a feasible and facile corridor to the ITF. With accurate hemostasis, this approach may provide another option for accessing the ITF for removal of tumors.


Anatomy Regional Video-assisted surgery Infratemporal fossa Surgical oncology 



Infratemporal fossa


Superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle


Medial pterygoid muscle


Lateral pterygoid muscle


Parapharyngeal space


Internal carotid artery


Internal jugular vein


Mandibular coronoid process


Inferior alveolar nerve


Pterygomandibular raphe


Middle meningeal artery


Eustachian tube


Temporomandibular joint



We are very grateful to Deng Wenyao and Hu Chen for their selfless assistance and admirable work during the anatomic project.


This research is supported by the Scientific Research Project of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (Project Number: 16411960600).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

There is no financial relationship and conflict of interest among all authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (Shanghai Key Clinical Disciplines of Otorhinolaryngology), Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat HospitalFudan UniversityShanghaiChina

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