Anatomy of the Pterygopalatine Fossa

  • Madjid Samii
  • Wolfgang Draf
  • Johannes Lang


The sphenomaxillary fissure, bounded in front by the maxillary tuber and behind by anterior portions of the pterygoid process, affords lateral access to the pterygopalatine fossa. It should be noted that the lower part of the pterygoid fossa and anterior border of the pterygoid process is formed by the pyramidal process of the palatine bone. That is why the area below the fissure must be termed the maxillopalatine or maxillopyramidal suture (contrary to textbook definitions and those of earlier authors). This suture zone is important in surgical procedures for the treatment of maxillofacial fractures (Le-Fort fractures). In our material the length of the sphenomaxillary fissure between the infratemporal spine and this suture zone is 19.87 (13–29) mm. The maximum width of the fissure is 5.66 (2–12) mm. The various types of sphenomaxillary fissure are illustrated in Fig. SA 34 (after Fink 1978).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Madjid Samii
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Draf
    • 2
  • Johannes Lang
    • 3
  1. 1.Medizinische Hochschule HannoverKrankenhaus Nordstadt derHannover 1Germany
  2. 2.Städtische Kliniken FuldaFuldaGermany
  3. 3.Vorstand des Anatomischen Instituts der UniversitätWürzburgGermany

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