Revision 12 for 'Pterygoid processes'

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Pterygoid processes

The pterygoid processes are paired inferior structures of sphenoid bone.

Gross anatomy

Each pterygoid process projects inferiorly from the junction of the body and greater wing of the sphenoid bone and bifurcates into a medial pterygoid plate and a lateral pterygoid plate. The spaces separated the medial and lateral plate are pterygoid fissure inferiorly and pterygoid fossa posterior-superiorly. The lateral aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate forms the medial wall of the infratemporal fossa. The root of the pterygoid process forms the posterior wall of the pterygopalatine fossa. The anterior opening of the pterygoid canal also sits on the anterior aspect of the root of the pterygoid process.

Muscle attachment

Lateral pterygoid: the lower part of the lateral pterygoid is attached to the lateral aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate.

Medial pterygoid: medial aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate.

Superior pharyngeal constrictor: inferior end of the medial pterygoid plate.

Related pathology

Pterygoid plates are important in diagnosing midface fractures. In Le Fort classification of midface fracture, the involvement of pterygoid plates is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

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