Gross Anatomy

Palate; Sphenopalatine Foramen; Pterygopalatine Fossa


Anatomy Tables for Today's Topic


Bones
Muscles
Nerves
Arteries
Lymphatics
Viscera

Bones

Bone/Cartilage Structure Description Notes
sphenoid an irregularly shaped bone forming the central portion of the skull it has many parts, including a body, greater wing, lesser wing and pterygoid plates
scaphoid fossa an oval depression at the superior end of the lateral pterygoid plate it is the site of origin of the tensor veli palatini m.
pterygoid hamulus hook-like projection from the inferior end of the medial pterygoid plate it acts as a pulley for the tendon of the tensor veli palatini m.
pterygoid canal canal that occurs at the junction of the greater wing, the pterygoid process and the body of the sphenoid bone it transmits the nerve of the pterygoid canal from the pterygoid region to the pterygopalatine fossa
maxilla bone forming the midface it forms the inferior orbital margin and contains the teeth and maxillary sinus
incisive foramen opening in the midline, posterior to the maxillary incisor teeth it transmits the terminal branches of the nasopalatine nn. & sphenopalatine aa.; it marks the point of union during development of the primary and secondary palate
palatine the bone that forms the posterior part of the hard palate paired; failure of the perpendicular plates to fuse during development leads to a midline defect (cleft palate)
sphenopalatine notch a notch at the posterosuperior margin of the perpendicular plate of the palatine bone along with the sphenoid bone it forms the sphenopalatine foramen
orbital process a small, superior projection from the perpendicular plate of the palatine bone it forms a small part of the floor of the orbit located posteroinferiorly near the apex
horizontal plate the portion of the palatine bone that forms the posterior 1/3 of the hard palate paired; the two horizontal plates meet at the midline
greater palatine foramen an opening in the hard palate located medial to the 3rd maxillary molar tooth it transmits the greater palatine neurovascular bundle; it is an important site for oral anesthesia
lesser palatine foramen an opening in the hard palate located posterior to the greater palatine foramen there may be more than one; it transmits the lesser palatine n. and vessels

Muscles

Muscle Origin Insertion Action Innervation Artery Notes
constrictor, superior pharyngeal medial pterygoid plate, pterygoid hamulus, pterygomandibular raphe, mylohyoid line of mandible pharyngeal tubercle and midline pharyngeal raphe constricts the pharyngeal cavity vagus (X), via the pharyngeal plexus ascending pharyngeal a. the most internal of the three pharyngeal constructor mm.
levator veli palatini apex of the petrous part of the temporal bone and the medial surface of the auditory tube cartilage muscles and fascia of the soft palate; palatine aponeurosis elevates the soft palate vagus nerve (X) via the pharyngeal plexus ascending pharyngeal a. a derivative of the fourth pharyngeal arch
musculus uvulae posterior nasal spine mucosa of the uvula shortens the uvula vagus nerve (X) via pharyngeal plexus lesser palatine a. the soft palate and uvula resist the upward pressure of the tongue during swallowing
palatoglossus palatine aponeurosis side of the tongue, entering it from above elevates and retracts the tongue vagus nerve (X) via the pharyngeal plexus tonsilar branch of the facial a., ascending pharyngeal a. although palatoglossus sounds like a tongue muscle (and would therefore be innervated by XII), it is a palatal muscle innervated by X
palatopharyngeus posterior margin of the bony palate and the palatine aponeurosis posterior wall of the pharynx and the posterior margin of the thyroid cartilage elevates the larynx vagus nerve (X) via pharyngeal plexus ascending pharyngeal a. palatopharyngeus is part of the inner longitudinal muscle layer of the pharynx
tensor veli palatini scaphoid fossa, lateral wall of the auditory tube cartilage palatine aponeurosis opens the auditory tube; tenses the soft palate mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve (V) ascending pharyngeal a. remember: V3 innervates both tensor muscles (tympani and veli palatini); ALL other palatal muscles are innervated by vagus

Nerves

Nerve Source Branches Motor Sensory Notes
of the pterygoid canal formed by the union of the greater petrosal n. (preganglionic parasympathetic) and the deep petrosal n.(postganglionic sympathetic) ends in the pterygopalatine ganglion (parasympathetic) secretomotor (parasympathetic) to: lacrimal gland and mucous glands of nasal cavity and maxillary sinus; sympathetic innervation to vascular smooth muscle in the same region none contains: preganglionic axons of the greater petrosal n. bound for pterygopalatine ganglion where they will synapse; postganglionic sympathetic axons of the deep petrosal n. which will pass through the pterygopalatine ganglion without synapsing
greater petrosal n. facial (VII) no named branches secretomotor (preganglionic parasympathetic) to: lacrimal gland, mucous glands of the lower nasal cavity, maxillary sinus and palate none greater petrosal n. joins the deep petrosal n. to form the n. of the pterygoid canal; the greater petrosal n. contains: preganglionic parasympathetic axons bound for the pterygopalatine ganglion where they will synapse; it passes through the hiatus of canal of greater petrosal n. in the petrous part of the temporal bone
pterygopalatine ganglion preganglionic parasympathetic axons arrive via the n. of the pterygoid canal from greater petrosal n. of the facial n (VII); postganglionic sympathetic axons arrive via the n. of the pterygoid canal from the deep petrosal n. postganglionic parasympathetic axons distribute via the greater & lesser palatine nn., nasopalatine n., sphenopalatine n. and zygomatic n. secretomotor to: mucous glands of the palate, nasal cavity, lacrimal gland none a parasympathetic ganglion; the pterygopalatine ganglion hangs off of the maxillary division of the trigeminal n. (V2) within the pterygopalatine fossa; preganglionic axons of the greater petrosal n. synapse here; postganglionic sympathetic axons of the deep petrosal n. pass through the otic ganglion without synapsing (they synapse in the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion)
vagus n. medulla: dorsal motor nucleus (GVE preganglionic parasympathetic); inferior ganglion (GVA); nucleus ambiguus (SVE); superior ganglion (GSA); inferior ganglion(SVA) auricular br., pharyngeal br., superior laryngeal, superior and inferior cervical cardiac brs., recurrent laryngeal n., thoracic cardiac brs., brs. to the pulmonary plexus, brs. to the esophageal plexus, anterior and posterior vagal trunks SVE: intrinsic muscles of the larynx, pharynx (except stylopharyngeus), and palate (except tensor veli palatini); GVE: smooth muscle of the respiratory tree & gut (proximal to the left colic flexure), heart; secretomotor: mucous glands of the larynx, respiratory tree, pharynx and gut; secretomotor to digestive glands GSA: skin of the external auditory meatus; GVA: viscera of head, neck, thorax & abdomen proximal to the left colic flexure; SVA: taste from the epiglottis also known as: CN X, 10th cranial nerve; the vagus n. passes through the jugular foramen to exit the posterior cranial fossa; vagus means "wanderer" in reference to its extensive distribution to the body cavities
trigeminal n. motor root arises from the trigeminal motor nucleus in the pons (SVE); sensory part arises from the trigeminal ganglion (GSA) and projects into the pons to the primary sensory nucleus of V or more inferiorly to the nucleus of the spinal root of V (medulla and upper spinal cord) ophthalmic, maxillary and mandibular divisions SVE: anterior belly of the digastric m., mylohyoid m., tensor veli palatini m., tensor tympani m.; muscles of mastication: temporalis m., masseter m., lateral pterygoid m., medial pterygoid m. skin of the face; mucous membranes of the nasal and oral cavities; general sensation (GSA) to the anterior 2/3 of the tongue also known as: CN V, 5th cranial nerve; some brs. carry pre- or postganglionic parasympathetic fibers; the trigeminal n. divides into three divisions at the trigeminal ganglion; SVE supplies muscles of 1st pharyngeal arch origin
mandibular division of the trigeminal n. trigeminal ganglion; motor root arises from the pons meningeal br., medial pterygoid and lateral pterygoid nn., masseteric n., anterior and posterior deep temporal nn., buccal n., auriculotemporal n., lingual n., inferior alveolar n. SVE: mylohyoid m., anterior belly of the digastric m.; tensor tympani m., tensor veli palatini m.; muscles of mastication (temporalis, masseter, medial pterygoid and lateral pterygoid) GSA: skin of the lower lip and jaw extending superiorly above level of the ear; mucous membrane of the tongue and floor of the mouth; lower teeth and gingiva of the mandibular alveolar arch also known as: V3; passes through the foramen ovale to exit the middle cranial fossa; the otic ganglion is associated with the medial side of V3 below the foramen ovale; the auriculotemporal n. carries postganglionic parasympathetic axons to the parotid gland; the submandibular ganglion is associated withe the lingual n. near the submandibular gland; postganglionic parasympathetics from the submandibular ganglion supply the submandibular gland and the sublingual gland
maxillary division of the trigeminal n. trigeminal ganglion meningeal br., posterior superior alveolar n., pharyngeal, posterior superior medial and lateral nasal brs., nasopalatine n., greater and lesser palatine nn., zygomatic n., infraorbital n. none GSA: skin of the upper lip, cheek, lower eyelid; mucous membrane of the palate; teeth and gingiva of the maxillary alveolar arch; the mucous membrane lining most of the nasal cavity; the mucous membrane lining the maxillary sinus also known as: V2; maxillary division of the trigeminal n. passes through the foramen rotundum to enter the pterygopalatine fossa; the pterygopalatine ganglion is associated with it in the pterygopalatine fossa; postganglionic parasympathetic fibers distribute with branches of the maxillary division to mucous glands of the nasal cavity and palate; the zygomatic n. & its brs. carry postganglionic parasympathetic axons to the orbit to reach the lacrimal n. and lacrimal gland
lacrimal n. ophthalmic division of the trigeminal n. (V1) no named branches carries secretomotor axons to the lacrimal gland skin of the lateral portion of the upper eye lid and its associated conjunctiva lacrimal n. carries the postganglionic parasympathetic axons from the zygomaticotemporal br. of the maxillary n. that originate in the pterygopalatine ganglion
glossopharyngeal n. medulla: spinal trigeminal nucleus from the superior ganglion (GVA); nucleus solitarius from the inferior ganglion (SVA); nucleus ambiguus (GVA); inferior salivatory nucleus (GVE - preganglionic parasympathetic) tympanic nerve to the tympanic plexus and lesser petrosal n., carotid sinus n., stylopharyngeus brs., pharyngeal brs. GSE: stylopharyngeus; GVE: secretomotor to the parotid gland (preganglionic parasympathetic via the tympanic n. to the lesser petrosal n. to the otic ganglion; postganglionic parasympathetic via the auriculotemporal n.) GVA: carotid body, carotid sinus, pharynx, middle ear; GSA: skin of the external ear; SVA: taste from the posterior 1/3 of the tongue also known as: CN IX, 9th cranial nerve; the glossopharyngeal n. exits the posterior cranial fossa by passing through the jugular foramen;it may penetrate the stylopharyngeus m.
facial n. pons and medulla: nucleus solitarius of medulla via nervus intermedius (SVA sensory root) from geniculate ganglion; superior salivatory nucleus (GVE preganglionic parasympathetic) of pons via nervus intermedius; facial motor nucleus of pons via motor root greater petrosal n. (preganglionic parasympathetic to pterygopalatine ganglion, postganglionic parasympathetic travels with brs. of maxillary division of V), chorda tympani (SVA taste from anterior 2/3 of the tongue; preganglionic parasympathetic to the submandibular ganglion, postganglionic parasympathetic to the submandibular and sublingual glands), n. to stapedius, posterior auricular n., intraparotid plexus with temporal, zygomatic, buccal, marginal mandibular & cervical brs. stapedius m., stylohyoid m., posterior belly of digastric m., muscles of facial expression; secretomotor to lacrimal, submandibular, sublingual, and mucous glands of the nasal and oral cavities taste (SVA) from the anterior 2/3 of the tongue; part of the skin of the external auditory meatus also known as: CN VII, 7th cranial nerve; exits the posterior cranial fossa by passing into the internal acoustic meatus, goes through the facial canal; motor to muscles of facial expression exits the skull at the stylomastoid foramen
infraorbital n. maxillary division of the trigeminal n.(V2) middle alveolar n., anterior superior alveolar n. none mucous membrane of the maxillary sinus; upper premolar, canine and incisor teeth; maxillary gingiva; skin of the lateral nose, lower eyelid, upper lip and zygomatic region infraorbital n.passes through the infraorbital groove, canal and foramen
nasopalatine n. maxillary division of the trigeminal n. (V2) no named branches none mucous membrane of the nasal septum; mucous membrane of the anterior portion of the palate nasopalatine n. innervates the mucosa overlying the primary palate (development); it passes through two openings in bone: sphenopalatine foramen and incisive canal
petrosal, deep internal carotid plexus no named branches vascular smooth muscle of the mucous membranes of the lower nasal cavity, maxillary sinus and palate none deep petrosal n. joins the greater petrosal n. to form the n. of the pterygoid canal; the deep petrosal n. contains postganglionic sympathetic axons (synapse occurred in the superior cervical sympathetic ganglion)
zygomatic n. maxillary division of the trigeminal n. (V2) zygomaticofacial & zygomaticotemporal carries secretomotor fibers skin of the face lateral and superior to the orbit zygomatic n. carries postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the lacrimal gland (via the communicating br. of the zygomaticotemporal n. which joins the lacrimal n.)
zygomaticofacial n. zygomatic from the maxillary division of the trigeminal n. (V2) no named branches none skin of face lateral to the orbit zygomaticofacial n. passes through the zygomaticofacial foramen
zygomaticotemporal n. zygomatic from the maxillary division of the trigeminal n. (V2) communicating br. carries secretomotor fibers skin of face superolateral to the orbit zygomaticotemporal n. carries postganglionic parasympathetic fibers from the pterygopalatine ganglion to the lacrimal gland (via the communicating br. which joins the lacrimal n.)

Arteries

Artery Source Branches Supply to Notes
palatine, ascending facial a. no named branches superior pharyngeal constrictor, soft palate, palatine tonsil ascending palatine a. shares supply of the tonsil bed with 4 other aa. (see also: tonsillar br. of the facial a., palatine br. of the ascending pharyngeal a., tonsillar br. of the dorsal lingual a., tonsillar br. of the descending palatine a.)
palatine, descending maxillary a. greater palatine a., lesser palatine a. palate descending palatine a. accompanies the greater palatine n. within the palatine canal
palatine, greater descending palatine a. no named branches hard palate, palatine glands, palatine mucosa greater palatine a. accompanies the greater palatine n., it is endangered by anesthetic injections for dental procedures
palatine, lesser descending palatine a. no named branches muscles of the soft palate, mucosa and glands of the soft palate, upper part of the tonsil bed lesser palatine a. is endangered by anesthetic injections for dental procedures
facial external carotid a. ascending palatine a., tonsilar br., submental a., superior labial a., inferior labial a., lateral nasal a., angular a. lower part of the palatine tonsil, submandibular gland, facial muscles and fascia the angular branch of the facial a. anastomoses with the ophthalmic a.
dorsal lingual lingual a. no named branches posterior tongue, palatine tonsil, soft palate dorsal lingual a. is only one of five arteries that supply the tonsil bed
ascending pharyngeal external carotid a. pharyngeal brs., inferior tympanic a., posterior meningeal a. pharynx, meninges ascending pharyngeal a. arises from the medial side of the external carotid a. close to the birfurcation
maxillary external carotid a. deep auricular a., anterior tympanic a., middle meningeal a., inferior alveolar a., masseteric a., posterior deep temporal a., anterior deep temporal a., buccal a., posterior superior alveolar a., infraorbital a., a. of the pterygoid canal, descending palatine a., sphenopalatine a. deep face, infratemporal fossa, tympanic cavity, muscles of mastication maxillary a. may course medial or lateral to the lateral pterygoid m.
infraorbital maxillary a. anterior superior alveolar a., middle superior alveolar a. maxillary sinus, maxillary incisors, canine and premolar teeth, skin of the cheek below the orbit, mucosa over the maxillary alveolar arch and the adjacent cheek infraorbital a. is one of four terminal branches of the maxillary a. (see also: descending palatine a., sphenopalatine a., posterior superior alveolar a.)
sphenopalatine maxillary a. posterior lateral nasal brs., posterior septal brs. posterolateral nasal wall, posteroinferior nasal septum, hard palate behind the maxillary incisor teeth sphenopalatine a. accompanies the nasopalatine n.

Viscera

Organ Location/Description Notes
pharynx the space posterior to the nasal cavity, oral cavity and larynx divided into 3 parts: nasopharynx, oropharynx and laryngopharynx; the airway and the pathway of ingested foods and liquids cross at this location
nasopharynx the portion of the pharynx located posterior to the posterior nasal apertures and superior to the soft palate nasopharynx communicates; anteriorly with the nasal cavity through the choanae and inferiorly with the oropharynx; it contains the torus tubarius, pharyngeal recess and pharyngeal tonsil
oropharynx the portion of the pharynx located posterior to the palatoglossal arches of the oral cavity and inferior to the soft palate oropharynx communicates: anteriorly with oral cavity through oropharyngeal isthmus (palatoglossal arch), superiorly with the nasopharynx through pharyngeal isthmus (posterior margin of soft palate), inferiorly with the laryngopharynx at the superior margin of epiglottis; it contains the palatine tonsil which is located in the tonsilar bed (between the palatoglossal arch and the palatopharyngeal arch)
laryngopharynx the portion of the pharynx located posterior to the laryngeal inlet and the posterior wall of the larynx connects: superiorly with oropharynx at the superior border of epiglottis, anteriorly with the larynx through laryngeal inlet, inferiorly with the esophagus at the lower border of the cricoid cartilage; laryngopharynx contains the piriform recesses which are lateral to the aryepiglottic folds
torus tubarius mucosal fold covering the anteromedial end of the auditory tube cartilage torus tubarius projects toward the midline from the lateral wall of the nasopharynx
salpingopharyngeal fold mucosal fold descending from the posterior margin of the torus tubarius salpingopharyngeal fold contains the salpingopharyngeus m.
pharyngeal recess space located posterior to the torus tubarius in nasopharynx the pharyngeal tonsil is located in this region
palatoglossal fold fold of mucosa covering the palatoglossus m. palatoglossal fold marks the anterior boundary of the bed of the palatine tonsil
palatopharyngeal fold fold of mucosa covering the palatopharyngeus m. palatoglossal fold marks the posterior boundary of the bed of the palatine tonsil
piriform recess shallow depression located lateral to the aryepiglottic fold in the laryngopharynx the internal branch of the superior laryngeal n. is located immediately deep to the mucosa in this region; also known as: piriform fossa

Lymphatics

Structure Location Afferents from Efferents to Regions drained Notes
tonsil, lingual superior surface of the root of the tongue lymphatic vessels of the tongue superior deep cervical nodes "guards" the entrance of the oropharynx lingual tonsil is part of the tonsillar ring (of Waldeyer)
tonsil, palatine lateral wall of the oropharynx between the palatoglossal and palatopharyngeal arches lymphatic vessels of the posterior tongue and palatoglossal/palatopharyngeal arch region superior deep cervical nodes, especially the jugulodigastric node "guards" the entrance of the oropharynx palatine tonsil is part of the tonsillar ring (of Waldeyer)
tonsil, pharyngeal roof and posterior wall of the nasopharynx lymphatic vessels of the wall of the pharynx superior deep cervical nodes "guards" the entrance to the nasopharynx pharyngeal tonsil is part of the tonsillar ring (of Waldeyer); also known as: adenoids
tonsil, tubal pharyngeal recess lymphatic vessels of the torus tubarius and auditory tube superior deep cervical nodes "guards" the entrance to the nasopharynx tubal tonsil is located at the pharyngeal orifice of the auditory tube

Other Tables of Interest:

All Anatomy Tables

Tables Organized by System Tables Organized by Region


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

Content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2007, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.

Unauthorized use is prohibited.