An anthropometric analysis of the key foramina for maxillofacial surgery

Brian Cutright, Naomi Quillopa, Warren Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


Purpose: The study goal was to determine the location of important maxillofacial foramina relative to frequently encountered surgical landmarks. Materials and Methods: Measurements (1,120) were made on 80 cadaveric heads of known race and gender to evaluate the position of the supraorbital, infraorbital, and mental foramina relative to surgical landmarks. Results: Analysis of the data determined the supraorbital foramen to be an average of 2.5 cm lateral to the nasal midline and 2.6 cm medial to the temporal crest of the frontal bone. Of the supraorbital foramina, 92.5% were notches and not true foramen. The infraorbital foramen was an average of 2.7 cm lateral to the nasal midline, 0.64 cm caudad to the inferior orbital rim, and 0.03 cm medial to the zygomaticomaxillary suture. The mental foramen was an average of 2.2 cm lateral to the mandibular skeletal midline. The average position of the mental foramen, relative to adjacent teeth, was between the first and second premolars for whites and just posterior to the second premolar in blacks. Conclusion: The measurements show small but significant differences in foramen location between whites and blacks and males and females. The knowledge of the distances from surgically encountered anatomic landmarks may be of assistance in locating these important maxillofacial neurologic structures during many procedures. This information may play an even more important role as new techniques for minimally invasive surgery are developed. Understanding the location of these foramina will also assist the clinician in performing local anesthetic blocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-357
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


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