Landmarks for the greater petrosal nerve

R Shane Tubbs, James W Custis, E George Salter, James Sheetz, Steven J Zehren, W Jerry Oakes
Clinical Anatomy 2005, 18 (3): 210-4
The anatomy of the greater petrosal nerve while within the middle cranial fossa is lacking in the English literature and must be well understood by the surgeon who operates in this area. Twenty-two sides from six female and five male cadavers were examined. Measurements were made between the greater petrosal nerve as it coursed through the middle cranial fossa and surrounding structures such as the arcuate eminence and lateral wall of the middle cranial fossa. Mean distances from the arcuate eminence to the hiatus of the greater petrosal nerve into the middle cranial fossa measured 17.5 mm (SD = 2.2). The length of this nerve within the middle fossa was approximately 10 mm (SD = 2). From the lateral wall of the middle fossa to a midpoint of the greater petrosal nerve mean distances measured 39 mm (SD = 2.4). The mean distance from the foramen spinosum to the exit of this nerve inferior to the trigeminal ganglion measured 7 mm (SD = 1.8). These measurements will hopefully aid the surgeon who wishes to expose or avoid the greater petrosal nerve within the middle cranial fossa.

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