DOI: 10.7717/peerj.16439 ISSN: 2167-8359

Alveolar antral artery: cone beam computed tomography study and clinical context

Ján Staněk, Kateřina Machálková, Magdalena Staňková, Jana Zapletalová, Tat’ána Kocurová
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Medicine
  • General Neuroscience


Anastomosis between posterior superior alveolar artery and infraorbital artery can go through bony canal in the lateral wall of the maxilla. This artery is called alveolar antral artery. It can complicate lateral sinus lift procedure by bleeding and hemosinus formation or bone graft wash out. The artery can also go in soft tissues where is not visible on cone beam computed tomography. In previous studies, the relation of this artery to sinus floor or alveolar process was measured. These structures are highly unstable during lifetime and after tooth loss. The aim of this study is to study presence and relations of bony canal in the lateral maxillary wall, to characterize the group of patients which is more likely to have bone canal in the lateral maxilla. The aim and the novelty of this study is the describing of the relationship of the bony canal to the more stable structure of hard palate and describing the relation of presence of bony canal on width of maxillary sinus, and to facilitate the prediction of presence of the alveolar antral artery.


The cone beam computed tomography scans of the patients (251 in number) of the university hospital were examined for presence of alveolar antral artery (148 was fulfilled inclusion criteria), patient were characterized by gender, age, and sinus type (wide, average, narrow). The diameter of the bony canal and its relation to the level of sinus floor and hard palate were measured.


The cone beam computed tomography scans of 148 patients, out of it 55 man (37,2%) and 93 women (62,8%). Bony canal containing alveolar anastomosis was found in 69 cases (57,0%). Presence of the bony canal in the lateral wall of maxillae showed statistical probability depending on age with p = 0, 064 according to Mann-Whitney test. The older patients have more likely the bony canal. The presence of the alveolar antral artery was found more likely in the wide sinuses. The hard palate level can serve as a prediction point of alveolar antral artery only in first molar and second premolar region. In accordance with previous studies the width of bony canal is significantly higher in group of man (p = 0, 015). There was found a correlation between smaller distance of bony canal from sinus floor in the presence of teeth (p = 0, 067). After tooth loss the distance between sinus floor and bony canal increases, but the distance of bony canal to hard palate level stays constant. This can be explained hypothetically so that periodontal ligaments and root surface acts as a barrier for sinus pneumatization.


Lateral sinus lifting in some cases can be unenviable, the knowledge about alveolar antral artery anatomy can reduce the risk of arterial bleeding. The cone-beam computed tomography is a routine examination prior to augmentation surgery and therefore the data obtained from it has an impact on clinical practice.

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