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Skull base surgery. 1997; 7(4): 183–191.
PMCID: PMC1656644

New Anatomical Description of the Cavernous Sinus Surface and Its Significance in Microsurgery


The anatomical and surgical approach to the sella region is of special interest for microsurgeons involved in ear, nose, and throat surgery, neurosurgery, ophthalmology, maxillofacial surgery, and skull base surgery. We investigated the surface morphology of the cavernous sinus and the sella turcica in 48 adult and 2 neonate specimens. To simplify the morphometric recording, distances between anatomical landmarks were defined. In addition, three triangles—the preinfundibular, the parasellar, and the internal carotid artery triangle—are introduced. These triangles are defined in order to determine the location where cranial nerves III, IV, V, and VI penetrate the dura with respect to the anterior and posterior clinoid processes and the tuberculum and dorsum sellae. The triangles were found to be symmetrical, with identical bilateral measurements, and the entry points of the cranial nerves were found to be constant. In 17 cases (34%), we found a dehiscence of the sellar diaphragm, and in 15 cases (30%), rope-like adhesions at the pituitary stalk.

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