Comparative research of the thin transverse sectional anatomy and the multislice spiral CT on Pterygopalatine Fossa

Cheng-Chun Chen, Zhong-Xiao Chen, Xin-Dong Yang, Jian-Wu Zheng, Zhen-Ping Li, Fei Huang, Fan-Zhen Kong, Chuan-Sen Zhang
Turkish Neurosurgery 2010, 20 (2): 151-8

AIM: To explore a method to obtain sub-millimeter data of the thin transverse section of the pterygopalatine fossa (PPF), and to study the thin transverse sectional anatomy of the adult pterygopalatine fossa and its communicating structure for providing anatomic gist for the imaging diagnosis and minimal invasive operation when PPF diseased.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Two heads of adult cadaver without macroscopic trauma (four sides of PPF) were selected to observe. Images of 0.6 mm-thick multi-planar construction (MPR) were obtained with multislice spiral CT (MSCT) based on the superior orbitomeatal line. Then, the specimens were sliced into 0.1 mm serial section on the transverse plane with the computerized milling machine, the figures were taken with digital camera and the sectional data were stored in the computer. Lastly, the thin transversal section of PPF was investigated and compared with multislice spiral CT images acquired by MPR technique to explore and discuss the anatomy of the thin transverse section of the internal structure of PPF.

RESULTS: PPF was divided into four portions: infrapterygopalatine portion, pterygopalatine ganglionic one, suprapterygopalatine one and roof of PPF according to the structural characteristics of the transverse section of PPF. The infrapterygopalatine portion communicated laterally with the infratemporal fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure and communicated downwards with the oral cavity via palatine greater and lesser canals. The pterygopalatine ganglion was shown clearly in the pterygopalatine ganglionic portion, and its dimensions were 3.91x1.92 mm at the best layer. In the suprapterygopalatine portion, the sphenopalatine foramen and artery were obviously shown on the medial wall, while the palatovaginal canal and artery, the pterygoid canal and artery, and the foramen rotundum and maxillary nerve were shown from the inferiomedial to laterosuperior on the posterior wall. The vomerovaginal canal and artery were located at the slightly superior portion of the medial side of the palatovaginal canal.

CONCLUSION: Figures of thin transverse section and multislice spiral CT have highly consistency for the display of PPF. Both of them can correctly identify the micro-structure, the complex relationship of the connectivity and the spatial localization in the narrow space of PPF. It can provide reference gist for the imaging diagnosis and minimal invasive operation.

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