2 ORBITSThe complex anatomy of the 14 facial bones helps to form several facial cavities. Those cavities, which are formed in total or in part by the facial bones, include the mouth (oral cavity), the nasal cavities, and the orbits. The mouth and nasal cavities are primarily passageways and, as such, are rarely radiographed. The orbits, however, that contain the vital organs of sight and associated nerves and blood vessels are imaged more frequently. Each orbit is a cone-shaped, bony-walled structure.
3 The long axis of the orbits projects both upward and toward the midline. With the head placed in an upright frontal or lateral position with the orbitomeatal line adjusted parallel to the floor, each orbit would project superiorly at an angle of 30° and toward the midsagittal plane at an angle of 37°. These two angles are important for radiographic positioning of the optic foramina. Remember that each optic foramen is located at the apex of its respective orbit. To radiograph either optic foramen, it is necessary to both extend the patient's chin by 30° and rotate the head 37°. The central ray then projects through the base of the orbit along the long axis of the cone-shaped orbit.
4 Bony Composition of Orbits Each orbit is composed of parts of seven bones. The circumference or circular base of each orbit is composed of parts of three bones—the frontal bone (orbital plate) from the cranium and two from the facial bones—the maxilla and the zygoma. A roof, a floor, and two walls, parts of which also are formed by these three bones, are found inside each orbital cavity. The orbital plate of the frontal bone forms most of the roof of the orbit. The zygoma forms much of the lateral wall and some of the floor of the orbit, whereas a portion of the maxilla helps to form the floor.
5 The frontal bone, the zygoma, and the maxilla, which form the base of the orbit, again are shown. A portion of the medial wall of the orbit is formed by the thin lacrimal bone. The sphenoid and ethmoid bones make up most of the posterior orbit, whereas only a small bit of the palatine bone contributes to the innermost posterior portion of the floor of each orbit.
7 Openings in Posterior Orbit The optic foramen is a small hole in the sphenoid bone that is located posteriorly at the apex of the cone-shaped orbit. The optic foramen allows for passage of the optic nerve (CN II), which is a continuation of the retina.The superior orbital fissure is a cleft or opening between the greater and lesser wings of the sphenoid bone, located lateral to the optic foramen. It allows transmission of four primary cranial nerves (CN III to VI), which control movement of the eye and eyelid.A third opening is the inferior orbital fissure, which is located between the maxilla, the zygomatic bone, and greater wing of the sphenoid. It allows for transmission of the maxillary branch of CN V, which permits entry of sensory innervation for the cheek, nose, upper lip, and teeth.
8 Fracture is a break in the structure of a bone caused by a direct or indirect force. Examples of specific fractures involving the facial bones include the following:Blowout is a fracture of the floor of the orbit caused by an object striking the eyes straight on. As the floor of the orbit ruptures, the inferior rectus muscle is forced through the fracture into the maxillary sinus, causing entrapment and diplopia (perception of two images).Tripod is a fracture caused by a blow to the cheek, resulting in fracture of the zygoma in three places—the orbital process, the maxillary process, and the arch. The result is a “free-floating” zygomatic bone, or a tripod fractureForeign body of the eye refers to metal or other types of fragments in the eye, a relatively common industrial mishap. Plain images are useful for detecting the presence of a metallic foreign object but are limited in their ability to demonstrate damage to tissues caused by these objects.
11 PARIETOORBITAL OBLIQUE PROJECTION: OPTIC FORAMINA Rhese MethodPathology DemonstratedBony abnormalities of the optic foramen are shown.Radiographs of both sides generally are taken for comparison.
12 Patient PositionRemove all metallic or plastic objects from head and neck. Position patient erect or supine.Part Position• As a starting reference, position the patient's head in a prone position with the MSP perpendicular to the IR. Adjust flexion and extension so that the AML is perpendicular to the IR. Adjust the patient's head so that the chin, cheek, and nose will be touching the table/upright Bucky surface.• Rotate the head 37° toward the affected side. The angle formed between the MSP and the plane of the IR will measure 53°. (An angle indicator should be used to obtain an accurate angle of 37° from the CR to the MSP.)
13 Central Ray• Align CR perpendicular to the IR at the midportion of the downside orbit.• Minimum SID is 40 inches (100 cm).RespirationSuspend respiration during exposure.
14 To obtain a sharply detailed image of the optic foramen, use of a small focal spot and close collimation is essential. CT is the preferred modality for a detailed investigation of the optic foramina.Structures Shown: • Cross-section of each optic canal and a nondistorted view of the optic foramen.
16 PARIETOACANTHIAL PROJECTION: FACIAL BONES Waters MethodPathology DemonstratedFractures (particularly tripod and Le Fort fractures) and neoplastic/inflammatory processes are shown. Foreign bodies in the eye also may be demonstrated on this image.
17 Part Position• Extend neck, resting chin against table/upright Bucky surface.• Adjust head until MML is perpendicular to the plane of the image receptor. The OML will form a 37° angle with the table/Bucky surface.• Position the MSP perpendicular to the midline of the grid or the table/Bucky surface, preventing rotation and/or tilting of head. (One way to check for rotation is to palpate the mastoid processes on each side and the lateral orbital margins with the thumb and fingertips to ensure that these lines are equidistant from the tabletop.)
18 Central Ray• Align CR perpendicular to IR, to exit at acanthion.• Center IR to CR.• Minimum SID is 40 inches (100 cm)
21 Structures Shown: • Inferior orbital rim, maxillae, nasal septum, zygomatic bones, zygomatic arches, and anterior nasal spine
22 MODIFIED PARIETOACANTHIAL PROJECTION: FACIAL BONES Modified Waters MethodPathology DemonstratedOrbital fractures (e.g., blowout) and neoplastic/inflammatory processes are shown. Foreign bodies in the eye also may be demonstrated in this position.
23 Patient PositionRemove all metallic or plastic objects from the head and neck. Patient position is erect or prone (erect is preferred if patient's condition allows).Part Position• Extend neck, resting chin and nose against table/upright Bucky surface.• Adjust head until lips-meatal line (LML) is perpendicular; OML forms a 55° angle with the IR.• Position MSP perpendicular to the midline of the grid or the table/upright Bucky surface. Ensure no rotation or tilt of head.
24 Central Ray• Align CR perpendicular, centered to exit at acanthion.• Center IR to CR.• Minimum SID is 40 inches (100 cm).
25 Structures Shown: • Orbital floors (plates) are visible with this projection, which also provides a less distorted view of the entire orbital rims than a parietoacanthial (Waters) projection.
26 PA AXIAL PROJECTION: FACIAL BONES Caldwell MethodPathology DemonstratedFractures and neoplastic/inflammatory processes of the facial bones are shown.
27 Part Position• Rest patient's nose and forehead against tabletop.• Tuck chin, bringing OML perpendicular to image receptor.• Align MSP perpendicular to midline of grid or table/Bucky surface. Ensure no rotation or tilt of head.
28 Central Ray• Angle CR 15° caudad, to exit at nasion.• Center CR to IR.• Ensure minimum SID of 40 inches (100 cm).Note: If area of interest is the orbital floors, use a 30° caudad angle to project the petrous ridges below the inferior orbital margin.
29 Structures Shown: • Orbital rim, maxillae, nasal septum, zygomatic bones, and anterior nasal spine.