Internal vascular anatomy of the human lacrimal gland: A protocol based on cadaver dissection and three-dimensional micro-computed tomography
Swati Singh, Prakshi Chopra, Fabian Necker, Michael Scholz, Anna-Maria Liphardt, Louis Schuster, Friedrich Paulsen, Lars Bräuer
Ann Anat . 2023 Dec 29:252:152207. doi: 10.1016/j.aanat.2023.152207. Online ahead of print.
Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of studying the vascular supply of the orbital and palpebral lobes of the human lacrimal gland using micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) and microscopic dissection.
Methods: The lacrimal gland artery of a fresh parasagittalized cadaver head (male, aged 76 years) was infused with a lead oxide-latex mixture near the occipital pole of the gland. The entire lacrimal gland was imaged using micro-CT and 3D cinematic rendering (CR) and then dissected under a surgical microscope.
Results: Micro-CT and CR images showed well-demarcated internal vascular branches of the lacrimal artery and their distribution within the orbital and palpebral lobes. The entire course of the artery and its branches could be visualized by CR and microscopic dissection, with the former showing better spatial orientation and finer branching. The main artery runs along the free edge of the aponeurosis of the levator palpebrae superior muscle and lies in the isthmus portion of the gland (between the orbital and palpebral lobes). The branches of the main lacrimal artery include one branch to the orbital adipose tissue just before entering the gland, two branches to the orbital lobe (medial and lateral), and two branches to the palpebral lobe (medial and lateral). The main artery terminates as palpebral and orbital lobe branches in the lateral half of the lacrimal gland.
Conclusion: Latex and contrast-enhanced micro-CT is very well suited to visualize the vascular anatomy of the lacrimal artery within the gland. A large number of lacrimal gland examinations using the method presented here are required to demonstrate and understand the variability of the vascular anatomy of the human lacrimal gland.