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Resident's Page: Imaging
November 1998

Imaging Quiz Case 2

Author Affiliations


Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 1998;124(11):1277. doi:10.1001/archotol.124.11.1274

A patency of the nasopalatine canal is an uncommon and infrequently described phenomenon. Embryologically, the canal marks the fusion between maxilla and premaxilla in the midline. The canals serve to transmit arteries (descending palatine and sphenopalatine branches) and nerves (nasopalatine). A midline junction of the canals results in a Y shape, the tip of which represents the incisive foramen. In some mammals, the canals remain patent and serve to connect the oral and nasal cavities in proximity to the vomeronasal organ. This additional olfactory tissue has been cited to have a function in mating. It can be found in some humans as an oval patch of discolored tissue along the anterior septum. This structure was noted in our patient, which was an interesting finding in light of the embryology of these structures. While related in function, the development is separate.

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