Region 3: Infratemporal Fossa and Deep Face

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Region 3: Infratemporal Fossa and Deep Face


--Mastoid process

--Zygomatic arch

--Mandible: condylar process (w/ head and neck), ramus, angle, lower border

--Superior Temporal Line

Temporal Fossa


*superior and posterior: temporal lines

*inferior: zygomatic arch and infratemporal crest of sphenoid


*temporalis muscle

Infratemporal Fossa


*anterior: maxilla

*posterior: condylar process of mandible and styloid process of temporal bone

--Communicates with:

*temporal fossa (through gap bounded by zygomatic arch)

*orbit (through inferior orbital fissure)

*pterygopalatine fossa (through pterygomaxillary fissure)

*cranial cavity (through foramen ovale and foramen spinosum)


*medial and lateral pterygoid muscles

*maxillary artery and its branches

*mandibular nerve and its branches

*otic ganglion

*chorda tympani nerve

*posterior superior alveolar nerves and vessels

Muscles of Mastication: masseter, temporalis, medial pterygoid, and lateral pterygoid



Zygomatic arch and bone


Lateral surface of ramus and angle of the mandible


Mandibular division of trigeminal nerve


Closes the mouth



Temporal fossa


Apex and anterior part of the coronoid process of the mandible


Mandibular division of trigeminal nerve


Closes the mouth

Medial Pterygoid


Medial surface of lateral pterygoid plate


On medial surface of the ramus and angle of mandible


Mandibular division of trigeminal nerve


Closes the Mouth

Lateral Pterygoid


Infratemporal surface of sphenoid bone and lateral surface of lateral pterygoid plate


Temporomandibular joint capsule and condylar process


Mandibular division of trigeminal nerve


OPENS THE MOUTH (only muscle)

Temporomandibular Joint


*head of the mandible

*Mandibular fossa and temporal bone

*Articular tubercle of temporal bone

--Ligaments and Disk

*temporomandibular ligament

*sphenomandibular ligament: from spine of sphenoid to lingula of mandible, remanant of Meckel’s cartilage

*fibrocartilagenous disk (divides the synovial cavity into upper and lower compartments

Maxillary Artery and Pterygoid Plexus of Veins

--Branches of Mandibular portion of the Artery

*deep auricular and anterior tympanic arteries

*middle meningeal artery: sometimes (38%) passes b/w 2 roots of auriculotemporal nerve to enter the foramen spinosum  major supplier of blood to the dura

*Inferior alveolar artery: enters the mandible through the mandibular foramen and supplies the lower teeth

--Branches of the pterygoid portion (related to lateral pterygoid muscle)

*anterior and posterior deep temporal arteries

*buccal artery

Mandibular Division of the Trigeminal Nerve (leaves the middle cranial fossa to enter the infratemporal foss through the foramen ovale)

--Main Trunk

*nerve to medial pterygoid (also innervates tensor veli palatini and tensor tympani muscles–motor)

--Anterior Division

*nerve to the masseter (motor or masseter, sensory to temporomandibular joint)

*deep temporal nerves (motor)

*nerve to the lateral pterygoid (motor)

*buccal nerve (sensory—supplies skin of cheek and mucous membranes of cheek side of the oral cavity and adjacent gingiva)

--Posterior Divison

*auriculotemporal nerve:

~arises by 1-4 roots (50% one root), if there are 2 roots they will encircle the middle meningeal artery

~receives postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the otic ganglion for the parotid gland (autonomic to gland) ~preganglionic fibers (lesser petrosal nerve) to otic ganglion

~sensory to skin in front of the ear and scalp

*Lingual nerve

~receives the chorda tympani nerve containing preganglionic parasympathetic fibers and taste fibers for the anterior 2/3 of the tongue (sensory cell bodies for taste to anterior 2/3 of tongue are in the geniculate ganglion)

~submandibular ganglion is associated w/ lingual nerve and serves the submandibular and sublingual salivary glands: receives preganglionic fibers via the chorda tympani nerve

~general sensory for anterior 2/3 of tongue plus oral mucosa and gum tissue lying beneath the tongue and lower front teeth, respectively

*Inferior Alveolar nerve

~enters mandibular forament after giving off the nerve to the mylohyoid (which gives off a branch to anterior belly of digastric)

~sensory to the lower teeth and skin on the chin by the mental nerve

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