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Location of Pterygopalatine Fossa and its Relationships to the Structures in Sellar Region

Cheng, Ye MD, PhD*; Xu, Haiyang MD*; Chen, Yong PhD*; Xu, Songbai PhD*; Yu, Hongquan MD*; Zhang, Siwen MD; Feng, Yan MD; Zhao, Gang MD*

doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000001899
Anatomical Studies

Purpose: The aim of this study is to locate pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) and the opening of its communicating canals by accessing the relationship between PFF and the endoscopic landmarks such as the tubercular recess (TR) and middle lowest point of sellar floor (SF) as well as analyze the relation between PPF and important structures such as internal carotid artery (ICA) and optic canal (OC).

Materials and Methods: Computer topographic angiography (CTA) images of 118 PPF regions were reviewed. The measurement was on coronal, sagittal, and axial planes after multiplanar reconstruction (MPR). The location of PPF and its relationship to the sphenoid sinus, ICA, and OC were studied. The communicating canals of PPF, which were related to the transsphenoid approach, were three-dimensionally measured by the stationary structures, such as the middle lowest point of SF, the sagittal midline, and the top and bottom wall of sphenoid sinus.

Result: The posterior part of PPF was located by the middle lowest point of SF. The anterior opening of sphenopalatine foramen (SPF), pterygoid canal (PC), palatovaginal canal (PVC), and foramina rotundum (FR) have relative stationary position, which can be located by the landmarks of sellar region during the endoscopic surgery.

Conclusions: Pterygopalatine fossa is related to numerous neurovascular structures. Accurate understanding of the radiologic anatomy of PPF is beneficial for the PPF disease diagnosis, the selection of treatment plan and the prognosis evaluation.

*Department of Neurosurgery

Department of Radiology

Department of Endocrine, First Hospital of Jilin University, China.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Gang Zhao, MD, Department of Neurosurgery, First Hospital of Jilin University, China; E-mail: and

Yan Feng, MD, Department of Radiology, First Hospital of Jilin University, China; E-mail:

Received 31 January, 2015

Accepted 16 March, 2015

Y Cheng and H Xu contributed equally as the first authors.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

© 2015 by Mutaz B. Habal, MD.