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Fascial Spaces Around the Oral Cavity
The fascial spaces in the maxillofacial and anterior neck regions are divided into three groups: superficial, intra-layer, and deep, named according to their positional relation to the superficial layer of the cervical fascia (SL). The spaces 1) to 8) described below are distributed around the oral cavity, 1) to 4) and 5) to 8) of which are included in the superficial and intra-layer groups, respectively.
1) The buccal and infraorbital spaces. The former lies between the superficial fascia of face and the buccinator, which is posteriorly continuous to the buccal fat pad. The latter lies between the levator labii superioris and the levator anguli oris.
2) The buccal fat pad. It sandwiches the ramus of mandible from the front and lies superficial to the fascia covering the lateral and medial pterygoidei and the temporalis.
3) The peritonsillar space. It is adjacent to the prestyloid space with the superior constrictor located in between.
4) The sublingual space. It lies in the floor of mouth. It is separated from the submandibular and submental spaces by the mylohyoid, and communicates with them through slits between muscle bundles of the mylohyoid or over its posterior free border. The spaces 1) to 4) are adjacent to the oral cavity and may be involved in spread of odontogenic infection.
5) The submental space. It lies in the median region bounded by the two anterior bellies of digastric muscles and the hyoid bone. Its roof and bottom are composed of SL and the mylohyoid, respectively. It posteriorly communicates with the submandibular space.
6) The submandibular space. It is enveloped by SL and located in the submandibular region bounded by the digastric and mandible. It communicates with the pterygomandibular and poststyloid spaces via the route of the lingual and mylohyoid nerves and that of the facial artery and vein, respectively.
7) The pterygomandibular space. It and the prestyloid space lie between SL and the cranial base. It is a fatty space between the medial and lateral pterygoidei. It is anteriorly adjacent to the buccal fat pad, and posteriorly communicates with the parotid space via the route of the maxillary artery and vein.
8) The prestyloid space. It lies medial to the pterygomandibular space with the medial pterygoideus located in between, and communicates with the pterygomandibular space beneath the foramen ovale. It is posteriorly adjacent to the parotid space, and further communicates with the poststyloid and retropharyngeal spaces of the deep group.
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