Histologic study of intravelar structures in normal human adult specimens

David P. Kuehn, Jerald B. Moon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To describe more clearly the tissue composition and structure of the human soft palate with particular emphasis on the central portion between the faucial pillars. Specimens: Nine female and three male normal adult human soft palate cadaver specimens. Results: The anterior soft palate consists of fairly uniform layers. The anterior one fourth contains a substantial investment of mucous-secreting glandular tissue, as well as an abundance of adipose tissue. The tensor veli palatini tendon is prominent in the most anterior region just posterior to the hard palate and close to the nasal surface. The middle one third of the soft palate is largely invested with muscle tissue consisting of (1) levator veli palatini fibers coursing transversely across the midline without a septal interruption, (2) musculus uvulae fibers encapsulated in a sheath and coursing longitudinally, perpendicular to and cradled by the levator sling, and (3) palafopharyngeus fibers located laterally and not approaching the midline. Musculus uvulae is variable across and within specimens in terms of its paired versus unpaired nature. Conclusions: The anatomy of the soft palate from the posterior border of the hard palate to the levator veli palatini sling is consistent among specimens, suggesting that structures in this region have a uniform function across subjects. The paired versus unpaired nature of musculus uvulae is variable both within and between specimens. The posterior one third of the soft palate is variable across specimens with regard to the relative amount and distribution of different tissue types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-489
Number of pages9
JournalCleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2005


  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Soft palate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oral Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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