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Ear Nose Throat J. 2000 Aug;79(8):600-5.

The vomeronasal organ: an objective anatomic analysis of its prevalence.

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  • 1Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, D.C. 20307, USA.


The function and location of the vomeronasal organ in humans remains poorly understood. Indeed, there has been considerable controversy as to whether it even exists. Until now, there has been no published report of its prevalence or location as ascertained by the most widely accepted visual operative instrument in sinonasal surgery: the rigid nasal endoscope. In this study, multiple observers used the nasal endoscope to determine the prevalence and character of the vomeronasal organ in humans. We performed nasal endoscopy on 22 cadaver heads and 78 live humans; we also biopsied cadaver specimens to histologically confirm the endoscopic diagnosis. We found evidence of this organ in 13 of the 22 cadavers (59.1%) and in 22 of the 78 patients (28.2%). Many nasal surgeons are unaware of this organ and its potential physiologic significance. It is our hope that by recognizing its prevalence and location, nasal surgeons will be more likely to identify and possibly preserve this mysterious organ until its function is more clearly understood.

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