The Lesser Palatine Nerve Innervates the Levator Veli Palatini Muscle

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Abstract

Summary:

When the lesser palatine nerve (LPN) is supposed to be a branch of the trigeminal nerve and innervate sensation of the soft palate, whether the LPN contains motor fibers is unclear. In this study, we monitored the electromyogram of the levator veli palatini (LVP) muscle on stimulating the LPN during palatoplasty in 3 patients. The electromyogram of the muscles showed the myogenic potential induced by electrostimulation of the LPN. Taken together with the finding from our previous anatomical study that the motor fibers come from the facial nerve, this result supports the double innervation theory of the LVP, which posits that both the pharyngeal plexus and the facial nerve innervate it. Identifying and preserving the LPN during palatoplasty might improve postoperative speech results.

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