The pterygopalatine fossa is part of the human skull. It is a bulge or depression in the skull bone. With the fingers, it is palpable on the human face. It is located on the outside of the face just below the eye.
There between the sphenoid bone and the upper jaw, the pit can be felt. Due to its position and appearance, the pterygopalatine fossa is also known as the wing palate pit. Through them, draw different vessels, nerve tracts and fibers. The human skull is very stable and impermeable to vessels and nerve tracts. In order to be able to transport absorbed stimuli from the sensory organs to the brain regions, there are bulges or grooves between different tissue structures of the brain.
They are used so as not to be crushed or moved. The bulges serve, for example, to form ganglia or to allow an exchange between different neural pathways. The pterygopalatine fossa is responsible for the nerve tracts that can reach the orbit, the human eye socket. There they then provide the eye. In addition, it is of great importance for the care of the maxilla.
The pterygopalatine fossa is surrounded by various bones. Its upper part is the sphenoid bone, a skull bone shaped like a butterfly. Downwards is the pyramidal process of the os palatinum.
This is the genital bone. In the anterior region it is formed by the facies infratemporalis of the maxilla. The pterygoid process delimits the pterygopalatine fossa to the rear. At the center of the face is the perpendicular plate of the os palatinum. To the outside, the bulge is open and therefore easy to feel.
Various nerves, arteries and veins pass through the pterygopalatine fossa. These include the ganglion pterygopalatinum. This is connected to the maxillary nerve. In addition, the maxillary artery, also referred to as pars pterygopalatina, and the zygomatic nerve. This is a terminal branch of the maxillary nerve. This is again a branch of the V. cranial nerve, the Nervus trigeminus. The pterygopalatine fossa additionally contains the major nervus petrosus and the deep petrous nervus. Both are also referred to as the Nervus canalos pterygoidus.
Various stimuli such as temperature, light or touch are recorded in the respective sensory organs and then transported to the brain via various routes. There they are evaluated and interpreted accordingly. At the same time a supply of the various organs and brain structures takes place over the used ways. This takes place in bloodstreams with oxygen, cells or blood plasma.
In the nerve fibers electrical signals are transported. Accordingly, a bilateral information and supply exchange is operated on the different communication channels. To make this possible, the nerve fibers and blood vessels need certain ways that they can use across the human head.
Since the skull is impermeable, there are different ways to pass through, which are used. The pterygopalatine fossa is one of the existing bulges. In the depression or along other anatomical spaces, the vessels and fibers can undisturbed pull their tracks. They are not displaced or squeezed by other organs or tissues within the skull. The bulges are cavities in which there is no other cortical tissue. Therefore, they are used, for example, to be able to pick up fibers from other nerve tracts or to guarantee the transmission of existing webs.
The zygomatic nerve receives efferent nerve fibers from the ganglion in the pterygopalatine fossa, for example, and then continues to the eye socket. The orbit draws its nerves from the pterygopalatine fossa. Also, nerves of the Nervus petrosus major pull through the pterygopalatine fossa. Its nerve fibers run along the pterygoid canal. This ends in the fossa pterygopalatina. Subsequently, the nerve fibers in the ganglion pterygoidus take on more and pull to the lacrimal gland in order to innervate them.
Damage to the cranial bones in the area of the face can lead to damage to the nerve fibers or vessels. If the bones surrounding the pterygopalatine fossa become damaged, it may mean that the bulge can no longer be used as a passageway.
This means that the supply of the eye socket and thus the eyes, the lacrimal gland or the upper palate is no longer sufficient. This can lead to numbness of the facial skin or palate. The lacrimal gland can no longer produce enough tear fluid. This provides the eye with insufficient care. The tear fluid has an important social function, regulates internal emotional states and protects the eye. Impurities in the eye are regulated by the tear fluid. Dehydration of the eye is accompanied by pain in the visual perception.
Since the skull bone is made of a very hard material, damage is usually caused by falls, accidents or surgical procedures on the face. The bone damage is often bruises or fractures, the regeneration takes several weeks. Hypersensitivity of the nerves through inflammation can be the result. Similarly, headaches or migraines are common side effects. Once the bulge is closed, it causes a congestion of the local bloodstreams. This can lead to the formation of blood clots. This increases the risk of stroke.