Pterygoid canal

The pterygoid canal, also known as the Vidian canal, is a foramen in the base of skull, located in the sphenoid bone, inferomedial to the foramen rotundum. It transmits the Vidian artery and Vidian nerve from the middle cranial fossa to the pterygopalatine fossa.

It is an important structure as involvement of the canal in inflammatory or neoplastic disease can result in pain referred deep to the nasal cavity. Pathological appearances of the pterygoid canal have been described to include effacement, atrophy, and enlargement. It can be difficult to distinguish possible pathological changes from normal anatomical variation.

History and etymology

The Vidian canal is named after the Italian surgeon and anatomist, Guido Guidi (Latin: Vidus Vidius) (1509-1569).