This study was designed to re-examine the same soft palates studied qualitatively in a previous investigation (Kuehn and Kahane, 1990), using a true-color image analysis system. The quantified measures of the areas of specific tissue types are reported. The results indicate that: (a) tendinous tissue is prominent anteriorly and comprises about 10% of total tissue in that region, (b) the relative proportion of glandular and connective tissue is fairly uniform across the length of the soft palate, averaging 22% and 36% respectively, (c) muscle tissue shows a pattern of increasing then decreasing amount from anterior to posterior with a maximum proportion of 23% in the midportion of the soft palate, (d) adipose tissue comprises 22% of total tissue area in the anterior segment and 17% of total tissue area in the posterior segment of the soft palate, (e) other tissue, primarily epithelium and vascular tissue, was found to be fairly constant anteriorly and increased in relative proportion to almost 30% of the total tissue area at the uvular base. The functional implications of these findings are discussed.
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