Describe the Infratemporal Fossa
The infratemporal fossa is a space under the skull base, between the lateral pharyngeal wall and mandibular ramus.
- is an inportant pathway for neurovascular structures passing between the cranial cavity, pterygopalatine fossa and temporal fossa,
- contains muscles of mastication.
Maxillary Artery and Branches
Mandibular Nerve and Branches
3 of the 4 muscles of mastication - medial and lateral pterygoid muscles temporalis muscle
pterygoid venous plexus
chorda tympani nerve!
posterior superior alveolar branches of maxillary nerve!
Lesser Petrosal Nerve
Medially lateral pharyngeal wall - lateral pterygoid plate; tensor and levator palalti muscles; superior constrictor muscle + pterygopalatine fossa
laterally - ramus and condylar process of mandible
anteriorly - posterolateral wall of the maxillary sinus
posteriorly - carotid sheath
floor - medial pterygoid muscle
roof - greater wing of sphenoid with foramen ovale; foramen spinosum
Describe the pterygoid venus plexus
The pterygoid venus plexus is a dense network of veins between the temporalis and lateral pterygoid muscle that through tributaries drain the superficial face and orbit. It's made of the corresponding veins of the maxillary artery branches 15 of which are given off in the same space!
One such vein normally goes through the foreamen OVALE (e in the mnemonic OVALE stands for Emissary vein)
otic ganglion, v3 branch, accessory meningeal, lesser petrosale nerve and Emissary). The vein can also go through the foreamen of Versalius, which is a varient foreamen.
Through that vein, it communicates with the cavernous Sinus.
The pterygoid plexus becomes the maxillary vein - which joins with the superficial temporal and as they run behind the mandible are so termed the retromandibular vein. The posterior branch of the retromandibular vein joins with the posterior auricular vein (two posteriors) to form the external jugular vein over sternoclediomastoid.
Pterygoid plexus also gives off the deep facial vein which joins with the anterior facial vein.