Infratemporal fossa

The infratemporal fossa is a complex space that lies posterolateral to the maxillary sinus and many important nerves and vessels traverse it. 

Gross anatomy

The infratemporal fossa is the space between the skull base, lateral pharyngeal wall and the ramus of mandible.  The fossa communicates with the temporal fossa via the space deep to the zygomatic arch. It also communicates with the pterygopalatine fossa via the pterygomaxillary fissure. The fossa is actually open to the neck posterio-inferiorly and in doing so has no true anatomical floor.

The lateral pterygoid forms the foundation where upon all other contents of the fossa are related. The branches of the mandibular nerve and the attachments of the medial pterygoid lie deep to the lateral pterygoid while the maxillary artery lies superficial to it. Between the two heads of the lateral pterygoid emerges the buccal branch of the mandibular nerve. The lingual and inferior alveolar branches of the mandibular nerve lie below the inferior border of the lateral pterygoid.

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 28263
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: pm, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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