Anatomy of greater palatine foramen and canal and pterygopalatine fossa in Thais: considerations for maxillary nerve block

D Methathrathip, W Apinhasmit, S Chompoopong, A Lertsirithong, T Ariyawatkul, S Sangvichien
Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy: SRA 2005, 27 (6): 511-6
This study aims to investigate the anatomy of the greater palatine foramen (GPF), greater palatine canal (GPC) and pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) with special reference to the blockage of the maxillary nerve. A correlation between the length of GPC and PPF and the heights of the orbit and the maxilla was also studied using simple linear regression analysis. The morphology of the GPF, GPC and PPF as well as heights of the orbit and the maxilla were assessed in 105 Thai skulls. The thickness of the mucosa over the GPF was also measured from the dissection of 55 cadavers. The results showed that most GPF appeared as an oval foramen located at the palatal aspect of the upper third molar. The GPF was 16.2+/-1.3 mm lateral to the median sagittal plane of the hard palate, 2.1+/-1.3 mm anterior to the posterior border of the hard palate and 5.1+/-1.3 mm from the greatest concavity of the distolateral margin of the hard palate. The mean length of GPC and PPF was 29.7+/-4.2 mm. The mean angles of the GPC in relation to the hard palate and the vertical plane were 57.9+/-5.8 degrees and 6.7+/-5.2 degrees , respectively. In attempting to insert a needle to reach the foramen rotundum through the GPF, 31.7% passed into the orbit while 8.7% passed into the brain. The mean thickness of the mucosa over GPF was 6.7+/-2.3 mm. Two models for estimating the depth of needle injection in maxillary nerve block have been developed as follows: Length of GPC and PPF=19.038+0.314 (orbital height) and length of GPC and PPF=21.204+0.187 (maxillary height). The calculated length combined with the mucosal thickness was the estimated depth of needle injection. In conclusion, our results concerning the GPF, GPC and PPF will provide the useful reference for clinicians to anesthetize the maxillary nerve with a greater degree of success.

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