2018 Volume 60 Issue 1 Pages 51-56
The greater palatine foramen (GPF) is an important anatomical landmark and has substantial clinical relevance in dental surgery. Knowledge of its precise location and dimensions is required for proper planning of surgical procedures involving the posterior maxilla. We used microfocus computed tomography to determine the location and dimensions of the GPF, and any sex and race variations in those measurements, in 77 human skulls scanned at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation. Specialized software was used for three-dimensional rendering, segmentation, and visualization of the reconstructed volume data. GPF location ranged from adjacent to the first molar to distal of the third molar. The most common GPF location was near the third molar (66.7% of skulls), and the GPF was as close as 6.31 mm (mean distance 12.75 ± 3 mm). The mean GPF dimensions were 5.22 mm on the anterior-posterior axis and 2.81 mm on the lateral-medial axis. We noted no significant differences in relation to race, sex, or age in the sample. The GPF was adjacent or posterior to the third maxillary molar in most skulls.