Morphological and Morphometric Characterization of the “Sphenoidal Tubercle”

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Víctor Ramos V. & Patricio Robles F.


The sphenoidal tubercle is a bone elevation located in the anterior edge of the infratemporal crest of the sphenoid greater wing, where the temporal and lateral pterygoid muscles have their origin. This bone accident presents varied morphology so its description and denomination are a topic of discussion. 60 dry skulls obtained from the morphology laboratory of the Biomedical Basic Sciences Department of the University of Talca were used for a morphological and morphometric analysis of the sphenoidal tubercle including its morphology, diameters (anteroposterior, transverse and vertical) and the distance to the grooves for the maxillary artery and maxillary nerve. Sphenoidal tubercle had a prevalence of 98.4 % of all dry skulls analyzed with a bilateral presentation in the 76.6 % of the cases. According to its different forms of presentation established by Cáceres et al. (2016) the pyramidal form was the most frequent with a 25.7 %. The average diameters were of 4.12 mm anteroposterior, 5.50 mm transverse and 3.89 mm vertical. The average distance to the grooves of the maxillary artery and maxillary nerve were 9.04 mm and 7.6 mm, respectively. Sphenoidal tubercle is a constant bone accident with a variated morphology and measures. Due to its anatomical relations with important neurovascular elements such as the maxillary artery and the maxillary nerve, it may be used as a reference point for surgical access to the infratemporal fossa. From this analysis we establish that the denomination of “infratemporal process” is more accurate, because the development of this bone accident is from muscular traction performed by the lateral pterygoid muscle and the deep portion of the temporal muscle causing great variations in its morphology, probably due to external and functional parameters or even influenced by the biotype.

KEY WORDS: Sphenoid bone; Maxillary artery; Maxillary nerve; Temporal muscle; Pterygoid muscles.

How to cite this article

RAMOS, V. V. & ROBLES, F. P. Morphological and morphometric characterization of the “sphenoidal tubercle”. Int. J. Morphol., 36(3):1057-1061, 2018.