Pterygomaxillary fissure

Last revised by Raymond Chieng on 7 Mar 2023

The pterygomaxillary fissure is a triangular shaped lateral opening of pterygopalatine fossa.

Gross anatomy

It is located in the medial aspect of the temporal fossa and is formed by the divergence of the maxilla from the lateral pterygoid plate of the sphenoid bone 3. It connects the infratemporal fossa with the pterygopalatine fossa.

  • anterior: posteromedial wall of the maxilla

  • posterior: lateral pterygoid plate

  • inferior: junction of the posteromedial wall of the maxilla and lateral pterygoid plate

  • medial: pterygopalatine fossa

  • lateral: infratemporal fossa 3


The pterygomaxillary fissure transmits the posterior superior alveolar nerve, a branch of maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve from the pterygopalatine fossa to the infratemporal fossa. Terminal branches of the maxillary artery also enter the fissure.

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