Surgical anatomy of the levator veli palatini: a previously undescribed tendinous insertion of the anterolateral fibers

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to describe the previously unreported tendinous insertion of the anterolateral fibers of the levator veli palatini (levator) and discuss possible implications for levator function and cleft palate repair. The velopharyngeal anatomy in normal adult cadavers was studied, with histologic confirmation of anatomical findings. These findings were compared with a more limited study of levator anatomy in cleft palates at the time of intraoperative muscle dissection. Just before entering the velum, the levator divides into two parts. The smaller bundle of muscle fibers (anterolateral part) runs anteriorly, close to the lateral pharyngeal wall, and inserts into the palatine aponeurosis through a number of fine tendons. The main part of the muscle runs medially into the velum, where it fans out and forms the levator sling with the contralateral levator. The possible function of the anterolateral part of the levator is discussed. Inadequate release of the tendinous insertions at the time of palate repair may tether the levator anteriorly and compromise muscle retropositioning or may result in splitting of the levator, so that only part of the levator is retropositioned.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-15
Number of pages9
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Volume114
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2004

Keywords

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cleft Palate
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction
  • Male
  • Microsurgery
  • Palatal Muscles
  • Palate, Hard
  • Palate, Soft
  • Reference Values
  • Tendons
  • Velopharyngeal Insufficiency
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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