The pterygopalatine fossa: Postoperative MR imaging appearance

L. L. Chan, J. Chong, A. M. Gillenwater, L. E. Ginsberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The pterygopalatine fossa (PPF) is an important anatomic location of the deep portion of the face. It is essential to review this area on both pre- and posttreatment studies of head and neck malignancies to assess local extent of disease or recurrence and perineural tumor spread. The purpose of this study was to review the postoperative appearance of the PPF on MR images. METHODS: Imaging and clinical data of 10 patients who underwent surgical resection of tumor in which the PPF was violated at surgery were reviewed. Patients were included in the study if there was no imaging or clinical evidence of tumor in the PPF pre- or postoperatively. Postoperative MR studies were examined to assess the appearance of the PPF. RESULTS: The PPF is consistently and persistently abnormal after surgical violation. There is loss of the normal T1 signal hyperintensity and abnormal, increased contrast enhancement, as seen on fat-suppressed T1-weighted images. These postoperative changes are strikingly similar to those of tumor involvement. CONCLUSION: After surgical violation, the PPF will always appear abnormal on MR images, and the expected imaging findings must be recognized to avoid the misdiagnosis of tumor recurrence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1315-1319
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


Dive into the research topics of 'The pterygopalatine fossa: Postoperative MR imaging appearance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this