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Morphologic Characteristics of Palatopharyngeal Muscle


In an effort to clarify the morphologic characteristics of the palatopharyngeal muscle, we examined its origin, insertion, and positional relationship with other muscles. We found that the origin of the palatopharyngeal muscle was both the oral and the nasal side of the soft palate; it was also attached to both the palatal aponeurosis and the soft palate median. However, in some cases the muscle originated on the nasal side was lacked. When the palatopharyngeal muscle originated from both the oral and the nasal side, it traveled through its insertion via the levator muscle of the palatine velum. This insertion was seen in a wide area and could be divided into three parts: the pharynx anterior, central, and posterior walls. In the central pharyngeal wall, insertion into the pharyngeal aponeurosis, inferior constrictor pharyngeal muscle, and esophagus were observed. The present results suggest that the palatopharyngeal muscle has a close positional relationship with the levator and tensor muscles of the palatine velum, the pharyngeal constrictor muscles, and the esophagus.

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These studies were supported by Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 19592131, S. Abe) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) of Japan, by the Foundation of Japan Medical Association, by Oral Health Science Center Grant HRC7 (S. Abe) from Tokyo Dental College, and by a “High-Tech Research Center” Project for Private Universities matching fund subsidy from MEXT, 2006-2011.

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Correspondence to Shinichi Abe.

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Okuda, S., Abe, S., Kim, HJ. et al. Morphologic Characteristics of Palatopharyngeal Muscle. Dysphagia 23, 258–266 (2008).

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  • Palatopharyngeal muscle
  • Palatal muscles
  • Soft palate
  • Swallowing
  • Pharynx
  • Levator muscle of palatine velum
  • Tensor muscle of palatine velum
  • Deglutition
  • Deglutition disorders