The greater palatine foramen (GPF) is an
important anatomical landmark and has substantial
clinical relevance in dental surgery. Knowledge of
its precise location and dimensions is required for
proper planning of surgical procedures involving
the posterior maxilla. We used microfocus computed
tomography to determine the location and dimensions
of the GPF, and any sex and race variations
in those measurements, in 77 human skulls scanned
at the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation.
Specialized software was used for three-dimensional
rendering, segmentation, and visualization of the
reconstructed volume data. GPF location ranged
from adjacent to the first molar to distal of the third
molar. The most common GPF location was near the
third molar (66.7% of skulls), and the GPF was as
close as 6.31 mm (mean distance 12.75 ± 3 mm). The
mean GPF dimensions were 5.22 mm on the anteriorposterior
axis and 2.81 mm on the lateral-medial axis.
We noted no significant differences in relation to race,
sex, or age in the sample. The GPF was adjacent or posterior to the third maxillary molar in most skulls.