pterygopalatine fossa

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pter·y·go·pal·a·tine fos·sa

a small pyramidal space, housing the pterygopalatine ganglion and third part of the maxillary artery, between the pterygoid process, the maxilla, and the palatine bone.

pterygopalatine fossa

a space shaped like a teardrop between the bones on the lateral side of the skull immediately posterior to the maxilla. It is a major site of distribution for the maxillary nerve and for the terminal part of the maxillary artery.

pterygopalatine fossa

A thin wedge-shaped space behind the nasal cavity and below the deep apex of the orbit; laterally, it opens into the infratemporal fossa (via the pterygomaxillary fissure). The pterygopalatine fossa contains the pterygopalatine ganglion. The maxillary branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V) enters the fossa from behind, through the foramen rotundum, and the pterygoid nerve enters the fossa via the pterygoid canal.
Synonym: sphenomaxillary fossa
See also: fossa


Marie F.X., French anatomist, physician, and biologist, 1771-1802.
Bichat canal - Synonym(s): cistern of great cerebral vein.
Bichat fat pad - an encapsuled mass of fat in the cheek on the outer side of the buccinator muscle. Synonym(s): buccal fat pad
Bichat fissure - the nearly circular fissure corresponding to the medial margin of the cerebral (pallial) mantle, marking the hilus of the cerebral hemisphere.
Bichat foramen - Synonym(s): cistern of great cerebral vein
Bichat fossa - sphenomaxillary fossa, a small pyramidal space, housing the pterygopalatine ganglion, between the pterygoid process, the maxilla, and the palatine bone. Synonym(s): pterygopalatine fossa
Bichat ligament - the lower fasciculus of the posterior sacroiliac ligament.
Bichat membrane - the inner elastic membrane of arteries.
Bichat protuberance - Synonym(s): buccal fat pad
Bichat tunic - the tunica intima of the blood vessels.
References in periodicals archive ?
The posterolateral wall of the antrum was then removed, leaving the maxillary sinus, nasal cavity, pterygopalatine fossa, and nasopharynx as a single large cavity that communicated with the infratemporal fossa through the narrow pterygomaxillary fissure.
If extension to the lower part of the pterygopalatine fossa was present, the posterior portion of the inferior turbinate was resected.
Computed tomography of the head and neck identified a 5 x 3 x 2-cm mass that involved the maxilla and hard palate and extended into the pterygopalatine fossa, the posterior wall of the maxillary sinus, and the left nasal cavity.
The patient was treated successfully via a unique endoscopic transpterygoid app roach--that is, an endoscopic approach through the maxillary sinus and pterygopalatine fossa and into the pterygoid process.
More advanced lesions might require orbital exenteration, pterygopalatine fossa resection, or skull base resection.
MRI demonstrated a primary soft-tissue mass in the soft-tissue palate (figure 1) and a localized abnormal intensity on enhancement in the region of the pterygopalatine fossa (figures 2 and 3).
5] Critical areas include the bony orbital walls, the cribriform plate, the fovea ethmoidalis, and the pterygopalatine fossa.