The lacrimal gland lies in the superolateral aspect of the orbit. It is part of the lacrimal apparatus and is responsible for tear production.
The lacrimal gland is roughly almond-sized and located anteriorly in the superolateral aspect of the extraconal space of the orbit. It h...
Lacrimal gland masses can be classified into two broad groups - inflammatory (~50%) and neoplastic, either lymphoma (25%) or salivary gland type tumours (~25%).
affects ~25% of patients with systemic disease
orbital inflammatory pseudotumour
The lacrimal nerve is the smallest branch of the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve (V1).
The lacrimal nerve divides off the ophthalmic division of the trigeminal nerve (V1) just before entering the orbit through the superior orbital fissure outside and superolateral to ...
The lacrimal (or nasolacrimal) sac forms part of the nasolacrimal drainage apparatus. It is located in the preseptal part of the orbit.
The lacrimal sac lies in the lacrimal fossa on the inferomedial aspect of the bony orbit between the posterior and anterior lacrimal crests. Th...
The lacrimal sac fossa is an excavated fossa in the inferior aspect of the anteromedial orbital wall which contains the lacrimal sac. It is bounded by the anterior and posterior lacrimal crests of the maxillary and lacrimal bones, respectively. In adults, it measures approximately 8-9mm anteropo...
The lacrimomaxillary suture is a syndesmotic suture between frontal process of the maxilla and lacrimal bone in inferior aspect of anteromedial wall of the orbit approximately half way between the anterior and posterior lacrimal crests. It corresponds, internally, to the maxillary line in later...
Lagophthalmos refers to the inability of an individual to completely close the eyelids and can result in drying of the eyes and irritation, and even permanent damage.
most common in facial nerve palsies (e.g. Bell palsy)
trauma/surgery: scarring of the eyelids 1 (cicatri...
The lambda is the midline bony landmark where the lambdoid sutures and sagittal suture meet, between the occipital and two parietal bones. It may be a depression and therefore palpable. Accessory occiptal bones are common near the lambda, usually associated with the lambdoid sutures.
It is the ...
The lamdboid suture is the junction between the superior border of the occipital bone and the posterior borders of the right and left parietal bones. It normally fuses at approximately 26 years of age.
The lamina papyracea, also known as the orbital lamina of the ethmoid bone, is the principal component of the medial wall of the orbit, and also the lateral surface of the ethmoid air cells.
superiorly with the orbital plate of the frontal bone
inferiorly with t...
Dehiscence of the lamina papyracea is an anomaly of the paranasal sinuses resulting a defect of the medial orbital wall.
There is some speculation that it might be caused by a hyperaerated ethmoid 1.
Almost all patient tend to be asymptomatic according to one...
Large vestibular aqueduct syndrome (LVAS), also known as large endolymphatic sac anomaly (LESA), refers to the presence of congenital sensorineural hearing loss with an enlarged vestibular aqueduct. It is thought to be one of the most common congenital causes of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL)...
The laryngeal cartilages form the "skeleton" of the larynx, of which there are a number:
arytenoid cartilage (paired)
cuneiform cartilage (paired)
corniculate cartilage (paired)
Laryngeal cysts can occur in any part of the larynx, but are more frequent in supraglottic locations, such as the epiglottis and vallecula. The prevalence of each location varies on different studies.
The laryngeal cysts represent a rare group, about 5%, of benign laryngeal lesio...
The laryngeal saccule is a mucosa-lined sac or pouch that arises from the anterior aspect of the roof of the laryngeal ventricle. It is most prominent in newborn but involutes during childhood.
medial: false vocal cords
lateral: thyroid cartilage
Dilatation of th...
Laryngeal squamous cell carcinoma staging uses the TNM staging system and actual staging is subsite (see laryngeal subsites) specific for T1-3. A rough approximation for all subsites is
T1: limited to one subsite and normal cord mobility
T2: more than one subsite and impaired cord mobility (bu...
Laryngeal trauma is uncommon in the setting of external blunt or penetrating trauma. The larynx may also be injured internally, for example during endotracheal intubation.
Symptoms include hoarseness, laryngeal pain, dyspnoea, and/or dysphagia. Also, stridor, haemoptysis,...
The laryngeal ventricle is a slitlike, mucosa-lined, space located between the true and false vocal cords. It is often seen on lateral radiographs of the neck as an air-filled space between the true and false vocal cords.
It should not be confused with the laryngeal vestibule.
The laryngeal vestibule is the part of the laryngeal cavity lying between the laryngeal inlet and vocal folds. It is found within the supraglottis. It has a wedge-shaped cross-section, its base lying anteriorly, with its apex tapering posteriorly.
anterior: tubercle of the epiglotti...
Laryngocele refers to dilatation of the saccule of the laryngeal ventricle.
On imaging, these lesions are generally characterised as well-defined, thin-walled, fluid or air-filled cystic lesions in the paraglottic space. The communication with the laryngeal ventricle is not always identified, a...
The larynx is an inferior continuation of the oropharynx. It extends from the epiglottis (namely the glossoepiglottic and pharyngoepiglottic folds) to the inferior aspect of the cricoid cartilage. Inferiorly, it continues as the cervical trachea.
The larynx consists of a cartila...
The lateralised internal carotid artery is an anatomic variation of the course of the horizontal internal carotid artery (ICA). It can be visualised on CT by its more posterolateral entrance to the skull base and protrusion into the anterior mesotympanum. It may result in pulsatile tinnitus.
The lateral lamella is the name given to the lateral boundary of the cribriform plate. It runs vertically and joins the fovea ethmoidalis inferomedially. It is the thinnest part of the cribriform plate.
The lateral lamella needs to be assessed on pre-functional endoscopic sinu...
The lateral posterior inferior nasal nerve is a branch of the greater palatine nerve that supplies the posteroinferior nasal lateral wall.
The nerve branches off the greater palatine nerve in the greater palatine canal and exits the canal though a tiny un-named foramen in the pal...
The lateral pterygoid muscle, also known as pterygoideus externus or external pterygoid muscle, is one of the muscles of mastication.
The lateral pterygoid is a short, thick muscle, somewhat conical in form, which extends almost horizontally, posteriorly and laterally between th...
The lateral pterygoid nerves or nerves to lateral pterygoid muscle are a pair of motor branches of the anterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve.
The two nerves divide off the anterior division and course along side the buccal nerve. Each nerve then pie...
The lateral rectus muscle is one of the 6 extra-ocular muscles that control eye movements. It is responsible for abduction and is the only muscle that is innervated by the abducens nerve (CN VI). It should normally measure 2.9 ± 0.6mm.
innervation: abducens nerve (CN VI)
A mnemonic for the layers of the scalp is:
This is particularly helpful when considering the location of a scalp haematoma.
C: connective tissue
A: (galea) aponeurosis
L: loose connective tissue
Le Fort fractures are fractures of the midface, which collectively involve separation of all or a portion of the midface from the skull base. In order to be separated from the skull base, the pterygoid plates of the sphenoid bone need to be involved as these connect the midface to the sphenoid b...
Leiomyosarcomas (LMS) are extremely rare malignant neoplasms that originate from smooth muscle cells and may be considered the malignant counterpart of a leiomyoma. They are classified as a soft tissue tumour and account for ~8% of malignant soft tissue tumours 10.
Lemierre syndrome refers to thrombophlebitis of the jugular veins with distant metastatic sepsis in the setting of initial oropharyngeal infection such as pharyngitis/tonsillitis with or without peritonsillar or retropharyngeal abscess.
Since the advent of antibiotics, the inciden...
The lentiform nodule (also known as the lenticular process) is the inferior most part of the incus which articulates with the head of the stapes.
Lentigo maligna, also known as Hutchinson freckle, is a non-familial precursor to lentigo maligna melanoma, which accounts for 5-15% of cases of malignant melanoma. It is most frequent in the head and neck.
It should not be confused with numerous other Hutchinson named entities including:
Leptomeningeal cysts, also known as growing skull fractures, are an enlarging skull fracture that occurs near post-traumatic encephalomalacia. The term cyst is actually a misnomer, as it is not a cyst, but an extension of the encephalomalacia. Hence, it is usually seen a few months post-trauma.
The lesser occipital nerve, also known as the small occipital nerve, is a cutaneous branch of the cervical plexus that innervates the skin of the neck and scalp posterior and superior to the auricle.
The lesser occipital nerve arises from the ventral ramus of C2, although...
The lesser palatine foramina are 2 small foramina representing the openings in the hard palate of the lesser palatine canal (which is a small accessory canal arising form the greater palatine canal). They are located in the posterior palatine bone posterior to the greater palatine foramen and po...
The lesser palatine nerves (or posterior palatine nerves) are a group of 2 to 3 nerves (usually 2 nerves) that arise of the maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve and contributes to the pterygopalatine ganglion.
The lesser palatine nerves divide off the maxillary division jus...
The lesser petrosal nerve carries parasympathetic (secretory) fibers from both the tympanic plexus and the nervus intermedius, to the parotid gland. The tympanic plexus arises from glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) via Jacobson's nerve.
The lesser petrosal nerve originates at the geniculate gangli...
The lesser wing of the sphenoid bone, or orbito-sphenoid, is a sharp, pointed triangular plate arising laterally from the upper anterior portion of the sphenoid body.
The lesser wing features both superior and inferior surfaces:
the superior surface is flattened and is in conta...
Leukocoria (also spelled as leucocoria or leukokoria) refers to an abnormal white reflection from the retina of the eye. Despite its colour, the reflection is related to the familiar red-eye effect. Usually, when a light is shone through the iris, the retina appears red to the observer. In leuko...
The levator palpebrae superioris muscle is a small muscle of the superior orbit that elevates and retracts the upper eyelid. It is not part of the extra-ocular muscles; it does not insert on the globe and therefore does not produce eye movements. It is mostly composed of skeletal muscle but ther...
The levator veli palatini is one of the 5 paired muscles of the soft palate. It is a cylindrical muscle which together form a V-shaped sling behind and above the soft palate.
origin: it has 2 sites of origin:
inferior surface of petrous temporal bone
medial rim of the auditory tube
The Lillie-Crowe sign is used in the diagnosis of unilateral sinus thrombophlebitis. Digital compression of the opposite internal jugular vein causes dilatation of the retinal veins.
The lingual artery is one of the branches of the external carotid artery and supplies the oral floor and tongue.
origin: branch of the external carotid artery at the level of the C3
course: towards hyoid bone, then loops down towards the tongue
supply: oral floor and tongue
The lingual nerve is a sensory branch of the posterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve.
The lingual nerve divides off the posterior division and descends anterior to the inferior alveolar nerve to course between the lateral pterygoid and tensor veli pa...
A lingual thyroid is a specific type of ectopic thyroid and results from the lack of normal caudal migration of the thyroid gland.
NB: Location at the base of the tongue aside, the information in this article can relate to any ectopic thyroid tissue.
The condition is congenital a...
The lingual tonsils are aggregations of lymphoid follicles that mediate B- and T-cell lymphocytes, which serve a role in formulating the immune system. They are covered by stratified squamous nonkeratinized epithelium and contain deep crypts and mucosal glands. They form a part of the Waldeyer r...
Lingula (plural lingulae) can refer to a number of different anatomical structures:
lingula (sphenoid bone)
History and etymology
Lingula is the diminutive form of lingua, Latin for the tongue. Thus lingula is used for a small tongue-l...
The lingula of the mandible (also known as Spix spine) is a triangular bony projection or ridge on the medial surface of the ramus of the mandible, immediately superior to the mandibular foramen. It provides attachment for the sphenomandibular ligament 1,2.
History and etymology
The parotid gland consists of a superficial and deep lobe. Determining the location and extent of the lesions affecting the gland is an essential aspect of imaging and vital information which needs to be conveyed to the surgeon.
Method of evaluation
The following lines are proposed for differe...
Locked-in syndrome is a condition that can occur as a result of a stroke involving the brainstem; the stroke damages the ventral brainstem, corresponding to the pyramidal bundles.
The infarct is pontine; the midbrain is preserved. The oculomotor nerve III is intact so the...
The long ciliary nerves are a group of nerves that branch from the nasociliary nerve in the intraconal space. Along with the short ciliary nerves, they supply sensation to the entire globe excluding the conjunctiva. Unlike the short ciliary nerves however, they bypass the ciliary ganglion and he...
Longitudinal temporal bone fractures are petrous temporal bone fractures that occur parallel to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone. Although more current classifications of the extent of temporal bone fractures focus on the integrity of the otic capsule rather than the fracture orientati...
Petrous temporal bone fractures are classically divided into longitudinal, transverse or mixed fracture patterns depending on the direction of fracture plane with respect to the long axis of the petrous temporal bone. Some features may aid in distinguishing them.
The longus capitis muscle is a prevertebral muscle of the neck that is innervated by muscular branches of the cervical plexus. In isolation longus capitis acts to laterally flex and rotate the head.
origin: anterior tubercles of C3-C6 transverse processes
insertion: inferior surface o...
The longus colli muscle is a prevertebral muscle of the neck that is innervated by the anterior rami of C2–C6 from the cervical plexus. Longus colli is a weak flexor the cervical spine and when contracting unilaterally it tilts and rotates the cervical spine to the ipsilateral side. Longus colli...
Low attenuation lymphadenopathy suggests underlying necrosis and can be seen in:
metastatic carcinoma (or lymphoma)
infections (tuberculous or fungal)
inflammatory necrotic disorders (e.g. Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease)
low attenuation ly...
Ludwig angina refers to rapidly progressive inflammation (cellulitis) of the floor of mouth, which is potentially life-threatening due to the risk of rapid airway compromise.
Largely due to the advent of antibiotics, the condition is uncommon in present day modern societies. Immu...
The Lund-Mackay score is a widely used method for radiologic staging of chronic rhinosinusitis 1.
When reading a CT scan of the paranasal sinuses and ostiomeatal complex, the reader assigns each sinus a score of:
0 (no abnormality)
1 (partial opacification) or
2 (complete opacification)
Lymph node enlargement (rarely lymphadenomegaly) is often used synonymously with lymphadenopathy, which is not strictly correct.
Lymphadenopathy (or adenopathy) is, if anything, a broader term, referring to any pathology of lymph nodes, not necessarily resulting in increased size; ...
Lymph nodes in the neck have been divided into seven levels, generally for the purpose of squamous cell carcinoma staging. This system is not inclusive of several important groups, however, such as the supraclavicular, parotid, retropharyngeal space, and occipital nodes.
The lyre sign refers to the splaying of the internal and external carotid by a carotid body tumour. Classically described on angiography it is also visible on CT angiography.
The MacEwen triangle (also called the suprameatal triangle or mastoid fossa) is a small triangular depression affecting the inner table of the temporal bone.
The lines forming the triangle are:
anterior: posterior border of the external acoustic meatus
superior: posterior root of the zygomati...
Macroglossia means an enlarged tongue. It may be absolute (greater than the 95th centile) or relative (enlarged compared with oral cavity).
Recognised associations include:
tends to be a relative macroglossia
may also have intermi...
The increased globe size or macrophthalmia may have many differentials:
buphthalmos (congenital glaucoma)
macrophthalmus in neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1)
connective tissue disorders: Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
Madelung disease, also known as Madelung-Launois-Bensaude syndrome or neck lipomatosis or multiple symmetric lipomatosis, is a rare benign entity clinically characterised by the presence of multiple and symmetric, non-encapsulated masses of fatty tissue, usually involving the neck and the upper ...
The major salivary glands are the largest and most important of the salivary glands and comprise of:
paired parotid glands
paired submandibular glands
paired sublingual glands
salivary gland tumours
Malignant mixed tumours of salivary glands, according to the WHO classification, comprise three tumours:
carcinoma ex pleomorphic adenoma
arises from pre-existing pleomorphic adenoma
carcinosarcoma (true mixed tumour of the salivary glands)
true malignant mixed tumour
99% also ...
Malignant salivary gland tumours are staged using the TNM staging system:
Tx: primary tumour cannot be assessed
T0: no evidence of primary tumour
less than or equal to 2 cm in maximal diameter
no extra-parenchymal extension
2-4 cm in maximal diameter
The malleus is the most lateral middle ear ossicle, located between the tympanic membrane and the incus.
The malleus has a head, neck, and three distinct processes (manubrium (handle), anterior and lateral processes).
The head is oval in shape, and articulates posteriorly with t...
The mandible is the single midline bone of the lower jaw. It consists of a curved, horizontal portion, the body, and two perpendicular portions, the rami, which unite with the ends of the body nearly at right angles (angle of the jaw). It articulates with both temporal bones at the mandibular fo...
The mandibular canal is located within the internal aspect of the mandible and contains the inferior alveolar nerve, artery and the vein. It starts at the mandibular foramen, on the lingual side of the ramus, continues on buccal surface of body of the mandible and ends at the mental foramen, adj...
The mandibular foramen or inferior alveolar foramen is located on the medial surface of the ramus of the mandible and is the entrance to the mandibular canal. It transmits the inferior alveolar nerve, a branch of the posterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve that supp...
The mandibular fossa or glenoid fossa is the smooth concave articular surface formed by both the squamous and petrous parts of the temporal bone. It forms the superior articular part of the temporomandibular joint and lodges the condyle of mandible.
Mandibular fractures are relatively common especially among young men. Although traditionally the mandible and base of skull are thought to form a complete bony ring, interrupted only by the TMJs. This should mean that the mandible should fracture in two places (akin to the bony pelvis) making s...
Mandibular lesions are myriad and common. The presence of teeth results in lesions that are specific to the mandible (and maxilla) and a useful classification that defines them as odontogenic or non-odontogenic. While it may often not be possible to make a diagnosis on imaging alone, this classi...
Mandibular osteoradionecrosis (ORN) is more common after radiation therapy for head and neck malignancies due to the superficial position of the mandible, which exposes it to high radiation. The maxilla can also be involved, but this is less frequent.
Mandibular ORN may occur in ...
There are many causes for mandibular periostitis:
Langerhans cell histiocytosis
malignancy (both primary and metastatic)
necrosis, e.g. radiation osteonecrosis
Garre's sclerosing osteomyelitis
Mandibular tori are common benign outgrowths of bone from the inner surface of the mandible.
They are composed of compact bone, densely mineralized usually without medullary cavity, and arise from the inner surface of the mandible above the origin of mylohyoid. They are usually bilateral.
Marine-Lenhart syndrome refers to a variant of Graves disease where there are coexistent autonomous thyroid nodules. It is better described as Graves disease with coexistent multinodular goitre or nodular Graves disease 1.
The syndrome is rare with reported prevalence somewhere b...
Marjolin ulcers reflect malignant degeneration within pre-existing scars or areas of chronic inflammation such as burns, venous ulcers etc.
The Markowitz and Manson classification system categorises fractures of the naso-orbitoethmoid (NOE) complex as follows 1:
type I - in which the medial canthal tendon is intact and connected to a single large fracture fragment
type II - the fracture is comminuted, and the medial canthal tendon...
The masseteric artery is a small branch from the second part of the maxillary artery. It passes laterally through the mandibular notch to the deep surface of the masseter muscle. It supplies the muscle, and anastomoses with the masseteric branches of the external maxillary and with the transvers...
The masseteric nerve or nerve to masseter is a motor branch of the anterior division of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve.
The masseteric nerve divides off the anterior division and continues lateral to the lateral pterygoid muscle and then medially through the mand...
The masseter muscle is one of the muscles of mastication. It is rectangular shaped and consists of three layers of fibres, where the superficial layer is the largest.
origin: zygomatic arch
insertion: ramus and angle of mandible
innervation: masseteric nerve from the anterior divisio...
The masticator space is one of the deep compartments of the head and neck.
The masticator space are paired suprahyoid cervical spaces on each side of the face. Each space is enveloped by the superficial (investing) layer of the deep cervical fascia.
The superficial layer of dee...
The mastoid air cells (cellulae mastoideae) represent the pneumatisation of the mastoid part of the temporal bone and are of variable size and extent.
At the superior and anterior part of the mastoid process the air cells are large and irregular and contain air, but toward the i...
Ths mastoid canaliculus arises from pars vascularis of foramen jugulare and runs to the mastoid segment of facial nerve canal and contains Arnold nerve (auricular branch of vagus nerve).
Mastoidectomy is a fairly frequent procedure performed for a variety of temporal bone pathologies including mastoiditis and cholesteatoma. It involves removing part of the bony wall of the mastoid to aid in drainage and surgical excision.
Types of mastoidectomy
A number of procedures have been...
The mastoid foramen is a variably present foramen as well as being variable in its size, number and position. Most commonly, it is located near the posterior margin of the mastoid process, within the temporo-occipital suture.
It transmits the emissary veins connecting to the sigmoid sinus and a...
The mastoid part of the temporal bone is its posterior component.
The mastoid part is normally pneumatised by the mastoid air cells and is perforated by the mastoid foramen. The roof of the mastoid antrum, which separates the mastoid from the cranial cavity, is called the tegment...
The maxilla (or maxillary bones) is a pair of symmetrical bones joined at the midline, which forms the middle third of the face. It forms the floor of the nasal cavity and parts of its lateral wall and roof, the roof of the oral cavity, contains the maxillary sinus, and contributes most of the i...
Maxillary antral carcinomas are an uncommon head and neck malignancy. They usually present late despite growing large since they remain confined to the maxillary sinus and produce no symptoms.
Most commonly affects patients over 45 and has a strong male predilection (M:F = 5:1). M...