[Sphenopalatinum foramen: an anatomical study]

Silvia Herrera Tolosana, Rafael Fernández Liesa, Juan de Dios Escolar Castellón, Laura Pérez Delgado, María Pilar Lisbona Alquezar, Gloria Tejero-Garcés Galve, María Guallar Larpa, Alberto Ortiz García
Acta Otorrinolaringológica Española 2011, 62 (4): 274-8

INTRODUCTION: The position of the sphenopalatine artery is essential for the endoscopic treatment of severe posterior epistaxis. This artery passes through its own foramen, which has a wide range of locations and anatomic relations.

OBJECTIVE: To carry out a descriptive osteological study on the sphenopalatine foramen area. Its anatomy, size, position and relations with turbinates and choanae are described, as well as the existence of accessory foramina.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Exploration and anatomical study was carried out in 32 human hemi-crania.

RESULTS: The area between middle and superior meatus was considered the most common location of the sphenopalatine foramen in 56.24% of the cases (18 specimens), followed by the superior meatus, with 37.5% (12 hemi-skulls). The foramen was located in middle meatus in just two cases. We found accessory foramina in 50% of the cases, most commonly positioned below the middle meatus. The ethmoidal crest appeared in every skull, producing an anterior osseous projection on the sphenopalatine foramen.

CONCLUSION: There are variations in position, number and anatomic relations that may cause changes in the sphenopalatine artery orifice and its branches into the nasal fossa. The ethmoidal crest, located on the anterior side of the sphenopalatine foramen, can be considered a permanent landmark to find the foramen.

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