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THE RELATIVE POSITION OF THE CRANIAL, NASAL, ORAL, AND PHARYNGEAL CAVITIES, etc.

On making a section (vertically through the median line) of the cranio-facial and cervico-hyoid apparatus, the relation which these structures bear to each other in the osseous skeleton reminds me strongly of the great fact enunciated by the philosophical anatomists, that the facial apparatus manifests in reference to the cranial structures the same general relations which the hyoid apparatus bears to the cervical vertebrae, and that these relations are similar to those which the thoracic apparatus bears to the dorsal vertebrae. To this anatomical fact I shall not make any further allusions, except in so far as the acknowledgment of it shall serve to illustrate some points of surgical import.

The cranial chamber, A A H, Plate 20, is continuous with the spinal canal C. The osseous envelope of the brain, called calvarium, Z B, holds serial order with the cervical spinous processes, E I, and these with the dorsal spinous processes. The dura-matral lining membrane, A A A*, of the cranial chamber is continuous with the lining membrane, C, of the spinal canal. The brain is continuous with the spinal cord. The intervertebral foramina of the cervical spine are manifesting serial order with the cranial foramina. The nerves which pass through the spinal region of this series of foramina above and below C are continuous with the nerves which pass through the cranial region. The anterior boundary, D I, of the cervical spine is continuous with the anterior boundary, Y F, of the cranial cavity. And this common serial order of osseous parts--viz., the bodies of vertebrae, serves to isolate the cranio-spinal compartment from the facial and cervical passages. Thus the anterior boundary, Y F D I, of the cranio-spinal canal is also the posterior boundary of the facial and cervical cavities.

Now as the cranio-spinal chamber is lined by the common dura-matral membrane, and contains the common mass of nervous structure, thus inviting us to fix attention upon this structure as a whole, so we find that the frontal cavity, Z, the nasal cavity, X W, the oral cavity, 4, 5, S, the pharyngeal and oesophageal passages 8 Q, are lined by the common mucous membrane, and communicate so freely with each other that they may be in fact considered as forming a common cavity divided only by partially formed septa, such as the one, U V, which separates to some extent the nasal fossa from the oral fossa.

As owing to this continuity of structure, visible between the head and spine, we may infer the liability which the affections of the one region have to pass into and implicate the other, so likewise by that continuity apparent between all compartments of the face, fauces, oesophagus, and larynx, we may estimate how the pathological condition of the one region will concern the others.

The cranium, owing to its comparatively superficial and undefended condition, is liable to fracture. When the cranium is fractured, in consequence of force applied to its anterior or posterior surfaces, A or B, Plate 20, the fracture will, for the most part, be confined to the place whereat the force has been applied, provided the point opposite has not been driven against some resisting body at the same time. Thus when the point B is struck by a force sufficient to fracture the bone, while the point A is not opposed to any resisting body, then B alone will yield to the force applied; and fracture thus occurring at the point B, will have happened at the place where the applied force is met by the force, or weight, or inertia of the head itself. But when B is struck by any ponderous body, while A is at the same moment forced against a resisting body, then A is also liable to suffer fracture. If fracture in one place be attended with counter-fracture in another place, as at the opposite points A and B, then the fracture occurs from the force impelling, while the counter-fracture happens by the force resisting.

Now in the various motions which the cranium A A B performs upon the top of the cervical spine C, motions backwards, forwards, and to either side, it will follow that, taking C as a fixed point, almost all parts of the cranial periphery will be brought vertical to C in succession, and therefore whichever point happens at the moment to stand opposite to C, and has impelling force applied to it, then C becomes the point of resistance, and thus counter-fractures at the cranial base occur in the neighbourhood of C. When force is applied to the cranial vertex, whilst the body is in the erect posture, the top of the cervical spine, E D C, becomes the point of resistance. Or if the body fall from a height upon its cranial vertex, then the propelling force will take effect at the junction of the spine with the cranial base, whilst the resisting force will be the ground upon which the vertex strikes. In either case the cranial base, as well as the vertex, will be liable to fracture.

The anatomical form of the cranium is such as to obviate a frequent liability to fracture. Its rounded shape diffuses, as is the case with all rotund forms, the force which happens to strike upon it. The mode in which the cranium is set upon the cervical spine serves also to diffuse the pressure at the points where the two opposing forces meet--viz., at the first cervical vertebra E and the cranial basilar process F. This fact might be proved upon mechanical principle.

The tegumentary envelope of the head, as well as the dura-matral lining, serves to damp cranial vibration consequent upon concussion; while the sutural isolation of the several component bones of the cranium also prevents, in some degree, the extension of fractures and the vibrations of concussion. The contents of the head, like the contents of all hollow forms, receive the vibratory influence of force externally applied. The brain receives the concussion of the force applied to its osseous envelope; and when this latter happens to be fractured, the danger to life is not in proportion to the extent of the fracture here, any more than elsewhere in the skeleton fabric, but is solely in proportion to the amount of shock or injury sustained by the nervous centre.

When it is required to trephine any part of the cranial envelope, the points which should be avoided, as being in the neighbourhood of important bloodvessels, are the following--the occipital protuberance, B, within which the "torcular Herophili" is situated, and from this point passing through the median line of the vertex forwards to Z the frontal sinus, the trephine should not be applied, as this line marks the locality of the superior longitudinal sinus. The great lateral sinus is marked by the superior occipital ridge passing from the point B outwards to the mastoid process. The central point B of the side of the head, Plate 21, marks the locality of the root of the meningeal artery within the cranium, and from this point the vessel branches forwards and backwards over the interior of the cranium.

The nasal fossae are situated on either side of the median partition formed by the vomer and cartilaginous nasal septum. Both nasal fossae are open anteriorly and posteriorly; but laterally they do not, in the normal state of these parts, communicate. The two posterior nares answering to the two nasal fossae open into the upper part of the bag of the pharynx at 8, Plate 20, which marks the opening of the Eustachian tube.

The structures observable in both the nasal fossae absolutely correspond, and the foramina which open into each correspond likewise. All structures situated on either side of the median line are similar. And the structure which occupies the median line is itself double, or duality fused into symmetrical unity. The osseous nasal septum is composed of two laminae laid side by side. The spongy bones, X W, are attached to the outer wall of the nasal fossa, and are situated one above the other. These bones are three in number, the uppermost is the smallest. The outer wall of each naris is grooved by three fossae, called meatuses, and these are situated between the spongy bones. Each meatus receives one or more openings of various canals and cavities of the facial apparatus. The sphenoidal sinus near F opens into the upper meatus. The frontal, Z, and maxillary sinuses open into the middle meatus, and the nasal duct opens into the inferior sinus beneath the anterior inferior angle of the lower spongy bone, W.

In the living body the very vascular fleshy and glandular Schneiderian membrane which lines all parts of the nasal fossa almost completely fills this cavity. When polypi or other growths occupy the nasal fossae, they must gain room at the expense of neighbouring parts. The nasal duct may have a bent probe introduced into it by passing the instrument along the outer side of the floor of the nasal fossa as far back as the anterior inferior angle of the lower spongy bone, W, at which locality the duct opens. An instrument of sufficient length, when introduced into the nostrils in the same direction, will, if passed backwards through the posterior nares, reach the opening of the Eustachian tube, 8.

While the jaws are closed, the tongue, R, Plate 20, occupies the oral cavity almost completely. When the jaws are opened they form a cavity between them equal in capacity to the degree at which they are sundered from each other. The back of the pharynx can be seen when the jaws are widely opened if the tongue be depressed, as R, Plate 20. The hard palate, U, which forms the roof of the mouth, is extended further backwards by the soft palate, V, which hangs as the loose velum of the throat between the nasal fossae above and the fauces below. Between the velum palati, V, and the root of the tongue, we may readily discern, when the jaws are open, two ridges of arching form, 5, 6, on either side of the fauces. These prominent arches and their fellows are named the pillars of the fauces. The anterior pillar, 5, is formed by the submucous palato-glossus muscle; the posterior pillar, 6, is formed by the palato-pharyngeus muscle. Between these pillars, 5 and 6, is situated the tonsil, S, beneath the mucous membrane. When the tonsils of opposite sides become inflamed and suppurate, an incision may be made into either gland without much chance of wounding the internal carotid artery; for, in fact, this vessel lies somewhat removed from it behind. In Plate 21, that point of the superior constrictor of the pharynx, marked D, indicates the situation of the tonsil gland; and a considerable interval will be seen to exist between D and the internal carotid vessel F.

If the head be thrown backwards the nasal and oral cavities will look almost vertically towards the pharyngeal pouch. When the juggler is about to "swallow the sword," he throws the head back so as to bring the mouth and fauces in a straight line with the pharynx and oesophagus. And when the surgeon passes the probang or other instruments into the oesophagus, he finds it necessary to give the head of the person on whom he operates the same inclination backwards. When instruments are being passed into the oesophagus through the nasal fossa, they are not so likely to encounter the rima glottidis below the epiglottis, 9, as when they are being passed into the oesophagus by the mouth. The glottis may be always avoided by keeping the point of the instrument pressing against the back of the pharynx during its passage downwards.

When in suspended animation we endeavour to inflate the lungs through the nose or mouth, we should press the larynx, 10, 11,12, backwards against the vertebral column, so as to close the oesophageal tube.

DESCRIPTION OF PLATES 20 & 21.

PLATE 20.

A A. The dura-matral falx; A*, its attachment to the tentorium.

B. Torcular Herophili.

C. Dura-mater lining the spinal canal.

D D*. Axis vertebra.

E E*. Atlas vertebra.

F F*. Basilar processes of the sphenoid and occipital bones.

G. Petrous part of the temporal bone.

H. Cerebellar fossa.

I I*. Seventh cervical vertebra.

K K*. First rib surrounding the upper part of the pleural sac.

L L*. Subclavian artery of the right side overlying the pleural sac.

M M*. Right subclavian vein.

N. Right common carotid artery cut at its origin.

O. Trachea.

P. Thyroid body.

Q. Oesophagus.

R. Genio-hyo-glossus muscle.

S. Left tonsil beneath the mucous membrane.

T. Section of the lower maxilla.

U. Section of the upper maxilla.

V. Velum palati in section.

W. Inferior spongy bone.

X. Middle spongy bone.

Y. Crista galli of oethmoid bone.

Z. Frontal sinus.

2. Anterior cartilaginous part of nasal septum.

3. Nasal bone.

4. Last molar tooth of the left side of lower jaw.

5. Anterior pillar of the fauces.

6. Posterior pillar of the fauces.

7. Genio-hyoid muscle.

8. Opening of Eustachian tube.

9. Epiglottis.

10. Hyoid bone.

11. Thyroid bone.

12. Cricoid bone.

13. Thyroid axis.

14. Part of anterior scalenus muscle.

15. Humeral end of the clavicle.

16. Part of posterior scalenus muscle.


Plate 20

PLATE 21.

A. Zygoma.

B. Articular glenoid fossa of temporal bone.

C. External pterygoid process lying on the levator and tensor palati muscles.

D. Superior constrictor of pharynx.

E. Transverse process of the Atlas.

F. Internal carotid artery. Above the point F, is seen the glosso-pharyngeal nerve; below F, is seen the hypoglossal nerve.

G. Middle constrictor of pharynx.

H. Internal jugular vein.

I. Common carotid cut across.

K. Rectus capitis major muscle.

L. Inferior constrictor of pharynx.

M. Levator anguli scapulae muscle.

N. Posterior scalenus muscle.

O. Anterior scalenus muscle.

P. Brachial plexus of nerves.

Q. Trachea.

R R*. Subclavian artery.

S. End of internal jugular vein.

T. Bracheo-cephalic artery.

U U*. Roots of common carotid arteries.

V. Thyroid body.

W. Thyroid cartilage.

X. Hyoid bone.

Y. Hyo-glossus muscle.

Z. Upper maxillary bone.

2. Inferior maxillary branch of fifth cerebral nerve.

3. Digastric muscle cut.

4. Styloid process.

5. External carotid artery.

6 6. Lingual artery.

7. Roots of cervical plexus of nerves.

8. Thyroid axis; 8*, thyroid artery, between which and Q, the trachea, is seen the inferior laryngeal nerve.

9. Omo-hyoid muscle cut.

10. Sternal end of clavicle.

11. Upper rings of trachea, which may with most safety be divided in tracheotomy.

12. Cricoid cartilage.

13. Crico-thyroid interval where laryngotomy is performed.

14. Genio-hyoid muscle.

15. Section of lower maxilla.

16. Parotid duct.

17. Lingual attachment of styloglossus muscle, with part of the gustatory nerve seen above it.


Plate 21