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Isr J Med Sci. 1982 Jul;18(7):774-8.

Mutilation of the uvula among Bedouins of the South Sinai.


Mutilation of the uvula, as practiced by various tribes of Bedouins in the South Sinai, was discovered while carrying out anthropological studies in the area. Partial or total amputation of the uvula is performed on both boys and girls during the first or second year of life, as a ritual custom. Anatomical changes in the soft palate due to the uvulectomy in 115 subjects are described. The remnant of the uvula (scar) was classified according to size as: very large, large, medium, small, trace or none. A notch or kind of cleft of the palate, as a result of the uvulectomy, was considered the most extreme degree of extirpation. The majority (47%) were of small size and a notch was found in 9.6%. Changes in shape and symmetry of the arches of the palate as a result of the uvulectomy are also described. These changes are explained on the basis of the anatomical structure of the palate and uvula. The possible effects of the uvulectomy on health in general and on speech in particular are discussed.

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