The Pterygopalatine Fossa

Publication ID Published Version
9176 May 24, 2012 8


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.

This product has been reviewed and evaluated by first year medical students from the Class of 2015 at the University of Louisville. Students recommended that the product be incorporated into the curriculum on an annual basis. Students commented that the anatomical views and dissections provided were unique to any material in their standard curriculum. They also cited as strengths of the program the narration, summary and overview, and organization.


Acland R, Herring N, Brueckner-Collins J. The Pterygopalatine Fossa. MedEdPORTAL Publications; 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, Maxillary Nerve, Maxillary Artery, Pterygomaxillary Fissure, Sphenopalatine Foramen, Pterygoid Canal, Osteology


  • Knowledge for Practice

Instructional Methods

  • Lecture
  • Tutorial

Organ Systems

  • Musculoskeletal system

Academic Focus

  • Basic Sciences
    • Gross Anatomy

Intended Audience

  • Professional School
    • Dental Student
    • Medical Student


  • Video

Join the Conversation

Share your thoughts with other users. Please sign in to comment on this material.

Material Access

Please sign in to access this material.

Please register for an AAMC account if you do not have one.


Browse Publications

Subscribe to Our Monthly Newsletter

Receive featured content & announcements!

  • Register
  • My MedEdPORTAL
  • Contact Us
  • My MedEdPORTAL

ISSN 2374-8265