Research Article|Articles in Press

Radiological Analysis of Maxillary Artery Relationships to Key Bony Landmarks in Maxillofacial Surgery

Published:November 07, 2022DOI:



      The maxillary artery (MA) is a key structure at risk of injury in numerous Oral and Maxillofacial surgical (OMS) procedures. Knowledge of safe distances from this vessel to surgically familiar bony landmarks could improve patient safety and prevent catastrophic haemorrhage


      Distances between MA and bony landmarks on the maxilla and mandible were measured using CT angiograms on 100 patients (200 facial halves).


      The vertical height of the pterygomaxillary junction (PMJ) was 16 ± 3mm. The MA enters the pterygomaxillary fissure (PMF) 29 ± 3 mm from the most inferior point of the PMJ. The mean shortest distance between the MA and medial surface of mandible was 2 ± 2mm (with the vessel directly contacting the mandible in 17% of cases). The branchpoint (bifurcation of the superficial temporal artery (STA) and MA) was directly in contact with the mandible in 5% of cases. The average distances between this bifurcation point and the medial pole of the condyle were 20 ± 5mm and 22 ± 5mm, respectively.


      A horizontal plane through the sigmoid notch perpendicular to the posterior border of the mandible is a good approximation of the trajectory of the MA. The branchpoint is usually within 5mm of this line and inferior in 70% of cases. Surgeons should take note that both the branchpoint and the MA contact the surface of the mandible in a significant number of cases.



      BP (branch point (ECA terminates to STA and MA)), CT (Computed Tomography), ECA (external carotid artery), ICA (internal carotid artery), LP (lateral pterygoid), MA (maxillary artery), PBM (posterior border mandible), PMF (pterygomaxillary fissure), PMJ (pterygomaxillary junction), PPF (pterygopalatine fossa), SN (sigmoid notch), STA (superficial temporal artery), TP (tragal pointer), TOF-MRA (Time of flight-Magnetic Resonance Angiography)
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