What is the anatomy of the masticator space relevant to deep neck infections?

Updated: Apr 30, 2020
  • Author: Alan D Murray, MD; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Masticator space

  • The masticator space is situated laterally to the medial pterygoid fascia and medially to the masseter muscle. It is bounded by the sphenoid bone, the posterior aspect of the mandible, and the zygomatic arch. It lies inferiorly to the temporal space and is anterolateral to the parapharyngeal space. It contains the masseter, pterygoids, ramus and body of the mandible, temporalis tendon, and the inferior alveolar vessels and nerve.

  • Infection in the masticator space may spread to the parapharyngeal, parotid, or temporal space.

  • Infections here may be a result of dental infections, particularly of the third mandibular molars, and have reportedly occurred from removal of suspension wires following reduction and fixation of facial fractures.

  • Trismus is commonly seen in the initial presentation and may be a long-term sequela.

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