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Pterygoid venous plexus: want to learn more about it?

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Pterygoid venous plexus

Pterygoid venous plexus (plexus venosus pterygoideus)

The pterygoid venous plexus is a venous network that surrounds the pterygoid segment of the maxillary artery. It is located within the infratemporal fossa, lying partly between temporal and lateral pterygoid muscle, and partly between the lateral and medial pterygoid muscles.

The function of the pterygoid venous plexus is to collect the blood from the palate, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, and auditory tube. The veins of pterygoid plexus converge on its anterior end to form the maxillary vein, which conveys the blood from the plexus into the retromandibular vein.

Key facts about the pterygoid venous plexus
Drains from Venules of the infratemporal fossa
Tributaries Sphenopalatine, deep temporal, pterygoid, masseteric, buccal, alveolar, greater palatine, inferior ophthalmic and middle meningeal veins
Drains to Maxillary vein
Drainage area Palate, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, auditory tube, deep parts of the scalp in the temporal region

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the pterygoid venous vein.

Contents
  1. Anatomy and course
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Anatomy and course

The pterygoid plexus is a network of numerous veins that surround the pterygoid segment of the maxillary artery. It is found in the infratemporal fossa, lying partly between temporal and lateral pterygoid muscles, and partly between the lateral and medial pterygoid muscles. The tributaries of the into the pterygoid plexus correspond to the branches of the maxillary artery and include the sphenopalatine, deep temporal, pterygoid, masseteric, buccal, alveolar, greater palatine, inferior ophthalmic and middle meningeal veins.

The pterygoid plexus anastomoses anteriorly with the facial vein via the deep facial vein, and superiorly with the cavernous sinus via emissary veins that pass through the sphenoidal emissary foramen (of Vesalius), foramen ovale and foramen lacerum. These connections have clinical significance due to the potential spread of infection from the pterygoid plexus into the cranial cavity via the cavernous sinus.

The pterygoid plexus drains many deep structures of the head, including the palate, nasal cavity, paranasal sinuses, nasopharynx, auditory tube and deep parts of the scalp in the temporal region. It is continued by a short maxillary vein, which lies deep to the neck of the mandible. The maxillary vein conveys the blood from the pterygoid plexus and goes on to enter the substance of the parotid gland, where it joins the superficial temporal vein to form the retromandibular vein.

Pterygoid venous plexus: want to learn more about it?

Our engaging videos, interactive quizzes, in-depth articles and HD atlas are here to get you top results faster.

What do you prefer to learn with?

“I would honestly say that Kenhub cut my study time in half.” – Read more. Kim Bengochea Kim Bengochea, Regis University, Denver

Show references

References:

  • Moore, K. L., Dalley, A. F., & Agur, A. M. R. (2014). Clinically Oriented Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
  • Netter, F. (2019). Atlas of Human Anatomy (7th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders.
  • Standring, S. (2016). Gray's Anatomy (41tst ed.). Edinburgh: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone.
  • Sinnatamby, C. S., & Last, R. J. (2011). Last's anatomy: Regional and applied. (12th edition). Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M., Loukas, M., & Bergman, R. A. (2016). Bergmans comprehensive encyclopedia of human anatomic variation. Hoboken: Wiley Blackwell.

Illustrations:

  • Pterygoid venous plexus (plexus venosus pterygoideus) - Yousun Koh
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