The Endoscopic Prelacrimal Recess Approach to the Pterygopalatine Fossa and Infratemporal Fossa

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The authors studied the anatomic importance of the endoscopic prelacrimal recess approach (PLRA) to the pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) and infratemporal fossa (ITF).


Ten adult heads (20 sides) from cadavers fixed in formalin were dissected using the PLRA. Anatomic dissections were detailed and several crucial landmarks measured.


Identification of the infraorbital neurovascular bundle is the crucial step for the detection of other branches of the maxillary artery. The distance from the base of columella to inferior orifice of the nasolacrimal duct, sphenopalatine foramen, pterygold canal, foramen rotundum, foramen ovale was (32.97 ± 3.44), (63.93 ± 4.52), (66.81 ± 3.44), (68.13 ± 4.43), and (85.23 ± 6.25) mm, respectively. The PLRA can be used to expose the entire maxillary sinus and PPF, most parts of the ITF (lateral pterygoid muscle, foramen ovale, mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve, and its divisions), maxillary artery and its branches, and the superior part of the medial pterygoid muscle (upon the floor of the maxillary sinus). The lateral boundary can be reached to visualize the temporomandibular joint and vertically oriented temporalis muscle.


Use of the PLRA to the PPF and ITF offers a clear visual field, wide range of exposure, as well as preservation of the integrity of nasal structures.

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