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Infratemporal fossa

Infratemporal fossa
Left infratemporal fossa.
Latin fossa infratemporalis
Gray's subject #46 184
Dorlands/Elsevier f_14/12376096

The infratemporal fossa is an irregularly shaped cavity, situated below and medial to the zygomatic arch.



It is bounded by the following structures:

  • anteriorly, by the infratemporal surface of the maxilla and the ridge which descends from its zygomatic process
  • posteriorly, by the articular tubercle of the temporal and the spinal angularis of the sphenoid
  • superiorly, by the greater wing of the sphenoid below the infratemporal crest, and by the under surface of the temporal squama
  • medially, by the lateral pterygoid plate

it has no floor

Contents of the infratemporal fossa


  • the lower part of the Temporalis muscle
  • the Pterygoidei internus and externus (internal and external pterygoid muscle)


The internal maxillary vessles, consisting of the maxillary artery originating from the external carotid artery and its branches.

Internal maxillary branches found within the infratemporal fossa including the

  • middle meningeal artery
  • inferior alveolar artery
  • deep temporal artery
  • buccal artery


Mandibular nerve, inferior alveolar nerve, lingual nerve, buccal nerve, chorda tympani nerve, and otic ganglion.[1]

Mandibular nerve

  • Mandibular nerve which is the third branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V3), also known as the "inferior maxillary nerve" or nervus mandibularis, enters infratemporal fossa from middle cranial fossa through foramen ovale.

Motor branches:

  • meningeal nerve
  • masseteric nerve
  • deep temporal nerve
  • lateral pterygoid nerve and medial pterygoid nerve
  • buccal nerve
  • auriculotemporal nerve
  • lingual nerve
  • inferior alveolar nerve

Its motor fibers innervate all the muscles of mastication plus the mylohyoid, anterior belly of the digastric, and the tensores veli palati and tympani

Sensory innervation:

  • auricle
  • external acoustic meatus
  • tympanic membrane
  • temporal region
  • cheek
  • skin overlying the mandible (except at the angle of the mandible)
  • anterior 2/3 of tongue
  • floor of mouth
  • lower teeth
  • gingiva


The foramen ovale and foramen spinosum open on its roof, and the alveolar canals on its anterior wall.

At its upper and medial part are two fissures, which together form a T-shaped fissure, the horizontal limb being named the inferior orbital, and the vertical one the pterygomaxillary.


  1. ^ Moore, Keith L & Dalley, Arthur (2006). Clinically oriented anatomy (5th ed.), Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Infratemporal_fossa". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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