Pterygomaxillary fissure

The pterygomaxillary fissure is a triangular shaped lateral opening of pterygopalatine fossa.

Gross anatomy

It is located in the medial aspect of the temporal fossa and is formed by the divergence of the maxilla from the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone. It connects the infratemporal fossa with the pterygopalatine fossa.

  • superior: pterygoid process
  • inferior: pterygoid plate
  • anterior: posterior wall of maxillary sinus

The pterygomaxillary fissure transmits the posterior superior alveolar nerve, a branch of maxillary division of the trigeminal nerve from the pterygopalatine fossa to the infratemporal fossa. Terminal branches of the maxillary artery also enter the fissure.