Posterior maxillary anatomy: implications for Le Fort I osteotomy

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The most common site of haemorrhage in maxillary osteotomies is the posterior maxilla. Better understanding of the anatomy in this region may minimize possible vascular complications. The aim of the study was to study the osteology of the posterior maxillary region and establish clinical safety guidelines for the Le Fort I osteotomy. Thirty human dry skulls were selected and assessed by a combination of direct inspection, computerized imaging and computed tomography (CT) scan analysis. Results showed that the presence of maxillary third molars influenced the transverse angulation of the posterior vertical cut. Synostosis of the pterygomaxillary junction was noted in 12% of samples. The mean length of the medial sinus wall from the piriform rim to the descending palatine canal at the Le Fort I level was 34 mm. The three-dimensional CT-reconstructed descending palatine canal ran at 60° anteroinferiorly to the palatine plane and slightly medially to the exit through the greater palatine foramen.

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