Soft palate

The soft palate is the posterior part of the palate that is a mobile fold of soft tissue attached to the posterior border of the hard palate which laterally fuses with the lateral wall of the oropharynx. On its inferior oral surface it is lined by oral mucosa (which contains innumerous palatine glands and some taste buds), and on its superior nasal surface it is lined by respiratory mucosa. It is reinforced by the palatine aponeurosis which forms the substrate for the palatal muscles to act upon.

The soft palate’s position and form are the result of five paired muscles, the so-called muscles of the soft palate:

Elevation of the soft palate helps protect the airway as its posterior border contacts the posterior wall of the pharynx to close off the nasopharynx during swallowing. In mastication it descends to close off the oropharynx from the oral cavity, likewise protecting the airway. It also has some function in phonation and the gag reflex.

See blood supply of the palate.

See innervation of the palate.

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 53438
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Updating… Please wait.

 Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

 Thank you for updating your details.