open access

Vol 69, No 2 (2010)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2010-05-27
Submitted: 2012-02-06
Get Citation

Microanatomy of the neural scaffold of the pterygopalatine fossa in humans: trigeminovascular projections and trigeminal-autonomic plexuses

M.C. Rusu
Folia Morphol 2010;69(2):84-91.

open access

Vol 69, No 2 (2010)
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
Published online: 2010-05-27
Submitted: 2012-02-06

Abstract

The pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) is an anatomically-hidden deep extracranial space. The neural scaffold of the PPF remains anatomically understudied in humans. Moreover, there are no anatomical data in humans pointing out the extracranial trigeminovascular distributions, in contrast to the trigeminal supratentorial ones. By anatomical microdissections, the neural scaffold of the PPF and the presence of trigeminovascular projections were evaluated. The anterior and superior approaches of the pterygopalatine fossae in nine dissected blocks of human middle skull base and the frontal cuts of two different specimens, led to several results: (1) the neurovascular contents of the PPF, embedded in the pterygopalatine adipose body, have a layered disposition; (2) the posterior neural layer is represented by a pterygopalatine cross, centred by the pterygopalatine ganglion (PPG) that sends off ascending, descending, and medial branches and has a lateral connection with the maxillary nerve - 4 quadrants could have been defined as referring to this cross; (3) at the level of the upper lateral quadrant there are two superposed layers (i) a superficial plexus contributed by the maxillary nerve, the maxillary artery plexus and the PPG and its orbital branches (OBs) and (ii) a deep layer, consisting of the OBs proper of the PPG; (4) within the PPF and on the posterior wall of the maxillary sinus distinctive trigeminovascular projections were evidenced. The anastomoses involving autonomic and trigeminal fibres, located in the PPF passage to the orbital apex, support the complicate and polymorphous neural input to the orbit, while the evidence of a pterygopalatine trigeminovascular scaffold offers a substrate for a better understanding of various facial algias.
(Folia Morphol 2010; 69, 2: 84-91)

Abstract

The pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) is an anatomically-hidden deep extracranial space. The neural scaffold of the PPF remains anatomically understudied in humans. Moreover, there are no anatomical data in humans pointing out the extracranial trigeminovascular distributions, in contrast to the trigeminal supratentorial ones. By anatomical microdissections, the neural scaffold of the PPF and the presence of trigeminovascular projections were evaluated. The anterior and superior approaches of the pterygopalatine fossae in nine dissected blocks of human middle skull base and the frontal cuts of two different specimens, led to several results: (1) the neurovascular contents of the PPF, embedded in the pterygopalatine adipose body, have a layered disposition; (2) the posterior neural layer is represented by a pterygopalatine cross, centred by the pterygopalatine ganglion (PPG) that sends off ascending, descending, and medial branches and has a lateral connection with the maxillary nerve - 4 quadrants could have been defined as referring to this cross; (3) at the level of the upper lateral quadrant there are two superposed layers (i) a superficial plexus contributed by the maxillary nerve, the maxillary artery plexus and the PPG and its orbital branches (OBs) and (ii) a deep layer, consisting of the OBs proper of the PPG; (4) within the PPF and on the posterior wall of the maxillary sinus distinctive trigeminovascular projections were evidenced. The anastomoses involving autonomic and trigeminal fibres, located in the PPF passage to the orbital apex, support the complicate and polymorphous neural input to the orbit, while the evidence of a pterygopalatine trigeminovascular scaffold offers a substrate for a better understanding of various facial algias.
(Folia Morphol 2010; 69, 2: 84-91)
Get Citation

Keywords

sphenopalatine ganglion; trigeminal nerve; maxillary artery; periarterial sympathetic plexus

About this article
Title

Microanatomy of the neural scaffold of the pterygopalatine fossa in humans: trigeminovascular projections and trigeminal-autonomic plexuses

Journal

Folia Morphologica

Issue

Vol 69, No 2 (2010)

Pages

84-91

Published online

2010-05-27

Bibliographic record

Folia Morphol 2010;69(2):84-91.

Keywords

sphenopalatine ganglion
trigeminal nerve
maxillary artery
periarterial sympathetic plexus

Authors

M.C. Rusu

Important: This website uses cookies. More >>

The cookies allow us to identify your computer and find out details about your last visit. They remembering whether you've visited the site before, so that you remain logged in - or to help us work out how many new website visitors we get each month. Most internet browsers accept cookies automatically, but you can change the settings of your browser to erase cookies or prevent automatic acceptance if you prefer.

By  "Via Medica sp. z o.o." sp.k., Świętokrzyska 73, 80–180 Gdańsk, Poland

tel.:+48 58 320 94 94, faks:+48 58 320 94 60, e-mail:  viamedica@viamedica.pl