Could mastication modify the shape of the orbit? A scannographic study in humans

  • Melanie Arnaud-BrachetEmail author
  • Jean Marc Foletti
  • Nicolas Graillon
  • Katia Chaumoître
  • Cyrille Chossegros
  • Laurent Guyot
Original Article



Since prehistory, changes of the facial skeleton have been related to the modification of diet. More recent studies have shown changes in the morphology of the mandible and maxilla due to variations of strain during mastication. The temporal muscle (TM) is a strong masticatory muscle, with its insertions extending through the temporal fossa. Our objective is to observe the relations between the TM and the lateral orbital wall (LOW) which could indicate an influence of mastication on the shape of the LOW.


We conducted a retrospective study using 100 CT scans. The length of the lateral orbital wall (LLOW), the angle between LOW and the medial orbital wall (MOW), the cross-sectional areas of LOW and of the TMs were measured on both sides of each CT scan. The correlation between TMs and other three parameters was studied by Pearson correlations.


A correlation was found between TMs and LOWs, a lower with LLOW, and a very weak and negative correlation between LOW/MOW angle.


Anatomical knowledge about TM and investigation of masticatory strains lead us to think that mastication have minimal effect on the morphology of the LOW, only on the frontal process of zygomatic. This may explain, in part, why the LOW is the strongest wall of the orbit.


Orbit Mastication Temporal muscle Lateral orbital wall 


Author contributions

MA: project development, data collection, manuscript writing. JMF: manuscript writing. NG: data collection. KC: data collection. CC: project development. LG: project development, manuscript writing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, Public Assistance Hospital,University Hospital Center ConceptionMarseilleFrance
  2. 2.Aix Marseille Univ, APHM, IFSTTAR, LBA, Pôle PROM, service de chirurgie maxillo-facialeMarseilleFrance
  3. 3.Department of Radiology, Public Assistance Hospital of MarseilleUniversity Hospital Center NordMarseilleFrance
  4. 4.Service de chirurgie Maxillofaciale et plastique de la faceHôpital NordMarseilleFrance

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