Cadaveric study of blood supply to the lower intraorbital fat: Etiologic relevance to the complication of anaerobic cellulitis in orbital floor fracture

Hsiung-Fei Chien, Ching Hsiang Wu, Chen Yuan Wen, Jeng Yung Shieh

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Purpose: Although orbital fractures are common, orbital cellulitis rarely develops following orbital fracture. We hypothesized that compromise of the blood supply to the intraorbital fat during orbital floor fracture is responsible for this condition. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not the lower intraorbital fat is supplied by a branch of the infraorbital artery along the orbital groove or canal on the orbital floor. Materials and Methods: We dissected 14 orbits from seven fixed human cadavers and 12 orbits from six fresh cadaver heads following dye injection into the maxillary artery. The sites of dye-filled vessels branching from the infraorbital artery supplying the lower intraorbital fat were measured and plotted on a two-dimensional orbital floor graph. Results: A main branch of the infraorbital artery rose through the medial orbital floor to supply the lower intraorbital fat in all of the cadaver orbits. The sites of the branching point of the vessel ranged from 0 to 5 mm (mean, 2.2 mm; n = 14) medial to the line connecting the infraorbital foramen and the infraorbital groove. The shortest distance measured from the branching point to the orbital rim ranged from 3 to 20 mm (mean, 14.1 mm; n = 14). This suggests that if orbital fracture were to occur around the infraorbital groove or canal, this vascular pedicle would be in danger of being incarcerated by bone fragments. Conclusion: Our cadaveric investigation revealed that the lower intraorbital fat is supplied by a branch of the infraorbital artery along the infraorbital groove or canal on the orbital floor. This finding suggests that compromised blood supply to the intraorbital fat may cause anaerobic cellulitis or enophthalmos.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-197
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Formosan Medical Association = Taiwan yi zhi
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Anaecrobes
  • Blood supply
  • Blowout fracture
  • Infraorbital artery
  • Orbit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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