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J Craniofac Surg. 2014 May;25(3):1033-7. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000000552.

Morphology and morphometry of the meningo-orbital foramen as a result of plastic responses to the ambient temperature and its clinical relevance.

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From the Department of Human Biology, Wroclaw University, Wroclaw, Poland.


The meningo-orbital foramen (FMO) is an osteal opening, containing vessels providing an accessory blood supply to the orbit, situated close to the superior orbital fissure. Recent studies show FMO to be ubiquitous, with localization and occurrence varying, depending on a population, what may be due to environmental conditions (ie, temperature). It is often located near the operating area in surgeries in the orbital cavity, and its accurate localization allows avoiding unexpected bleeding during intervention. Because there is a lack of clarity in the literature concerning the morphology and the morphometry of the FMO, this study aimed to clarify the issue with clinical relevance. We studied dry adult human skulls (50 men and 33 women). The morphology and minimal distances between the FMO and standard anthropologic landmarks (nasion, frontomalare orbitale, supraorbital foramen, and zygomaticomaxillary suture) were measured, using MicroScribe G2L, a three-dimensional contact scanner. We compared the result with results of previous studies on populations from various climate zones. The FMO was present in 69.88% of the skulls (56.02% of orbits): in 60.34% of the skulls, the FMO was bilateral; and in 39.66%, unilateral. We observed 74 single, 10 double, and 2 triple foramina. The FMO was present mostly on the sphenoid and the frontal bone. There was no difference in minimal distances between the FMO and the anthropologic landmarks, depending on sex, except the distance to the nasion (shorter in women). The occurrence of the FMO in the population differed from that of other populations. The results show that it is possible that the morphology and the morphometry of the FMO depend on the climate zone or ambient temperature during growth, which should be considered before performing surgery in the orbital cavity.

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