Pterygomaxillary Fissure

What is the Pterygomaxillary fissure?

The pterygomaxillary fissure can be defined as one of the fissures encountered at the level of the skull. It can also be characterized as the lateral opening of the pterygopalatine fossa (this is the reason why, in the past, it was known as the pterygopalatine fissure).

Apart from being vertical, it is known that the pterygomaxillary fissure descends from what is actually the medial end of the inferior orbital fissure at a 90-degree angle. It can also be presented as a triangular interval – it is formed, as the maxilla diverges from the sphenoid bone (more specifically, from the pterygoid process).

The borders of the pterygomaxillary fissure are represented by: pterygoid process (superior border), pterygoid plate (inferior border) and posterior wall of the maxillary sinus (anterior border).

The pterygomaxillary fissure, along with the nasal cavity, contribute to the formation of the pterygopalatine fossa. This fossa contains a series of important elements, including the following: branches of the maxillary nerve, the terminal branches of the maxillary artery and the pterygopalatine ganglion. The pterygomaxillary fissure represents the lateral boundary of the pterygopalatine fossa, allowing for the communication with the infratemporal fossa.


The main purpose of the pterygomaxillary fissure is to connect the infratemporal fossa with the pterygopalatine one. By making this connection, it also transmits the terminal part of the maxillary artery. The pterygomaxillary fissure is also used by the posterior superior alveolar nerve (part of the maxillary nerve) – the nerve uses the fissure in order to go from the pterygopalatine fossa to the infratemporal region.


It is possible that some growths can extend into the infratemporal fossa through the pterygomaxillary fissure. Such a situation has been encountered in a patient diagnosed with an angiomatous nasal polyp. The extension of growing masses can be considered to have a neoplastic etiology, as was the case of the patient presented as example.

Pictures of Pterygomaxillary Fissure

pterygomaxillary fissure
Pterygomaxillary Fissure Picture : Diagrammatic representation of Pterygomaxillary Fissure along with other parts including Sphenopalatine foramen (nasal cavity), Inferior orbital fissure (floor of orbit), Palatovaginal canal(nasopharynx), Pterygoid canal (cranial cavity), Foramen rotundum (middle cranial fossa).


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here