The scaphoid fossa of sphenoid bone or fossa scaphoidea ossis sphenoidalis in Latin (‘scaphoidea’ meaning boat-shaped; ‘sphenoidalis’ meaning wedge-shaped) is a small, shallow, oval shaped depression, located above the pterygoid fossa present in the pterygoid process of the sphenoid bone.
The sphenoid bone is part of the skeletal framework of the infratemporal and pterygopalatine regions. It lies at the base of the skull, and consists of a central body, paired greater and lesser wings, and two pterygoid processes descending from the body and greater wings’ junction. Each pterygoid process is made up of a broad lateral plate, and a narrow medial one. The V-shaped pterygoid fossa is found between the divergences of these two plates from behind.
The scaphoid fossa is formed by the division of the upper posterior border of the medial plate, from a hook-like projection called the pterygoid hamulus present at the end of the plate. The tensor veli palatini muscle is attached to this fossa. It is responsible for tensing of the soft palate and the opening of the pharyngotympanic tube during both swallowing and yawning. The pterygoid canal opening is present superior to the scaphoid fossa, at the root of the medial plate of the pterygoid process.
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