The Pterygopalatine Fossa

Format Publication ID Version Published
Video, Tutorial 9176 1 May 24, 2012


This videographic tutorial provides a unique anatomical perspective of the pterygopalatine fossa, using a Stortz™ 4mm straight endoscope, attached to a high definition camera. The pterygopalatine fossa has traditionally been a difficult area for students to conceptualize, due to its deep placement in the skull. This tutorial elucidates the bony anatomy of this fossa from within its depths, demystifying its complexity for health science students. Pre- and post-tests are included for students to evaluate their mastery of this topic.


Acland R, Herring N, Brueckner-Collins J. The Pterygopalatine Fossa. MedEdPORTAL; 2012. Available from:

Contains Information Suitable for Patient Education

Educational Objectives

  1. To review the osteology and communications of the pterygopalatine fossa using an endoscopic perspective.
  2. To demonstrate the course of the neurovascular structures traversing the pterygopalatine fossa.


  • Pterygopalatine Fossa (MeSH), Maxillary Nerve (MeSH), Maxillary Artery (MeSH), Pterygomaxillary Fissure, Sphenopalatine Foramen, Pterygoid Canal, Osteology

Competencies Addressed

  • Medical
    • Medical Knowledge

Academic Focus

  • Basic Sciences
    • Gross Anatomy

Organ Systems

  • Musculoskeletal system

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student
    • Medical Student

Instructional Methods

  • Lecture

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