[Anatomic variations and references of the sphenopalatine foramen in cadaveric specimens: a Mexican study]

Mauricio Morales-Cadena, Fernando González-Juárez, Liliana Tapia-Álvarez, Luis Fernando-Macías Valle
Cirugia y Cirujanos 2014, 82 (4): 367-71

BACKGROUND: The sphenopalatine foramen is located on the lateral nasal wall and has multiple variants and anatomic landmarks that are important to know to optimize RESULTS in the surgical management of posterior epistaxis.

OBJECTIVE: This study describes the endoscopic anatomy of the sphenopalatine foramen, related structures and anatomic variations in a Mexican population.

METHODS: We performed a prospective, observational, and experimental study. Five cadaveric specimens were included. Dissections were performed to identify the anatomy of the sphenopalatine foramen and anatomic variants. Measurements were obtained from different anatomic references to the columella.

RESULTS: Of a total of ten dissections, in 100% of cases ethmoid crests were identified anterior to the sphenopalatine foramen. Localization of the sphenopalatine foramen in the lateral nasal wall in 60% cases was in the transition from middle meatus with superior meatus. The vidian nerve in 90% of cases was located superior and posterior to the sphenopalatine foramen. For the measurements, no significant differences between the two sides of each specimen were noticed.

CONCLUSIONS: The sphenopalatine foramen presents multiple anatomic variants and numerous landmarks, which are important to comprehend in order to perform a successful and safe endoscopic sinus surgery.

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