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Review Questions for the Cranial Fossae, Cavernous Sinus, and Sphenoid Sinus

The College of Medicine at The Pennsylvania State University


[ Structural Basis of Medical Practice ]

  1. Review the anatomy of the cavernous sinus. Include bones, spaces, boundaries, relationships, contents, vascularization, innervation, and lymphatic drainage. Specifically mention the venous sinuses that communicate with the cavernous sinus. Further, discuss possible routes of infection to the cavernous sinus from the face, scalp, and ischiorectal fossa. Briefly discuss the expected neural and vascular symptoms resulting from damage to each structure within the cavernous sinus. For each case, consider that the damage is isolated to the particular structure discussed. Explain why one eye is adducted at the onset of symptoms whereas, eventually, both eyes are adducted? What is pulsatile exophthalmos (see the clinical correlation for the cavernous sinus in the current dissector)? (12 pts)
  2. Review the anatomy of the sphenoid sinus. Include bones, spaces, boundaries, relationships, contents, vascularization, innervation, and lymphatic drainage. What structures are at risk if a surgical procedure invades the lateral wall of the sphenoid sinus? What neural symptoms (functional nerve deficits) are expected if the floor (inferior boundary) of the sphenoid sinus is fractured across the pterygoid canal? (12 pts)
  3. Review the anatomy of the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone. Include bones, spaces, relationships, contents, vascularization, innervation, and lymphatic drainage. What structures are at risk if the cribriform plate is fractured? What symptoms are expected? Account for at least three structures - two neural and one vascular. (12 pts)

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The Structural Basis of Medical Practice - Human Gross Anatomy
The College of Medicine of the The Pennsylvania State University
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