The aim of this study was to analyse the vertical location of the posterior superior alveolar artery (PSAA) using a reliable new reference plane regardless of tooth and alveolar bone, and to measure the diameter in each posterior tooth region, which is of relevance to lateral sinus floor elevation surgery. A total of 270 sinuses in 139 patients were examined in this study. The A-plane was defined by A-point and the bilateral jugal points on reconstructed three-dimensional images. The distance from the PSAA to the defined plane was measured in four regions: first premolar (P1), second premolar (P2), first molar (M1), and second molar (M2). The average distance of the PSAA above the plane in the P1, P2, M1, and M2 regions was determined to be 10.24mm, 7.35mm, 5.47mm, and 7.23mm, respectively. The PSAA was found to run above the plane in 97.4% of sinuses, below the plane in 1.1%, and on the plane in 1.5%. In conclusion, the new plane is useful for intraoperative location of the PSAA. According to the study findings, the area below the reference plane can be considered safe for lateral approach sinus surgery in terms of preserving the integrity of the PSAA.
Keywords: anatomic variation; maxillary sinus; sinus floor augmentation.
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