Identification of the bony canal of the posterior superior alveolar nerve and artery in the maxillary sinus: tomographic, radiographic, and macroscopic analyses

ScientificWorldJournal. 2015:2015:878205. doi: 10.1155/2015/878205. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


The aim of this study was to identify the shape and route of the bony canal of the posterior superior alveolar artery (PSAA) and posterior superior alveolar nerve (PSAN) using different identification methods, including computed tomography (CT), panoramic radiograph, and macroscopic evaluation (corpse and dry skull). Twenty-four patients were analyzed by CT and panoramic and posterior anterior (PA) radiographs; additionally, 90 dry skulls and 21 dissected anatomical specimens were examined. Three-dimensional-CT revealed that the lateral wall of the maxillary sinus resembled a tunnel format in 60% of the treated patients. Out of all 24 patients, the panoramic radiograph identified the bony canal in only one patient; whereas the PA radiograph identified it in 80% of the patients. The dry skulls showed tunnellike routes of the PSAA and PSAN in 65% of the cases. Moreover, the pathway was also visibly observed in the dissected anatomical specimens as a straight shape in 85% of the cases. Thus, our results demonstrated that the most common shape of the bony canal of the PSAA and PSAN is the tunnel format with a straight route by 3D-CT, posterior anterior radiography, and macroscopic evaluation. However, in the panoramic radiographs, it was difficult to identify this canal.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Cone-Beam Computed Tomography / methods*
  • Humans
  • Maxillary Nerve / anatomy & histology*
  • Maxillary Sinus / anatomy & histology*