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Clin Otolaryngol Allied Sci. 2004 Dec;29(6):689-93.

Why do we have a uvula?: literature review and a new theory.

Author information

  • 1Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery, York District Hospital, Wigginton Road, York, UK. gary.rhinodoc@virgin.net


From ancient times up to the present day many different functions and conditions have been attributed to the uvula, many speculative and some with a more scientific basis. The uvula has been shown to have the ability to produce and secrete large quantities of thin saliva. A common complication of surgery involving removal of the uvula is pharyngeal dryness. We have observed that on phonation and swallowing the uvula swings back and forth in the oropharynx. We present a review of the literature on the uvula and propose a theory that the uvula bastes the throat and thereby helps keep it moist and well lubricated.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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