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Head and Neck Anatomy: Part I – Bony Structures

Course Number: 591

Palatine Bones

A common mistake that most anatomy students make when studying the palatine bones is thinking that they make up the entire palate. While the two fused L-shaped bones contribute to the palate, they only form the posterior section, as the palate is primarily formed by the maxilla. Besides the horizontal plates that form the palate there are vertical extensions that extend from the lateral borders of the horizontal plates forming the L-shape. This vertical portion forms the posterior part of the lateral wall of the nasal cavity articulating with the inferior concha bone; another part forms a very small part of the orbital floor between the ethmoid and maxillary bones. It also articulates with the sphenoid bone posterior to the medial pterygoid plate and actually shares some of the attachment of the medial pterygoid muscle.

Illustration highlighting the palatine bones
Illustration showing the palatine bones and openings

Figure 19.

Openings – The lesser palatine foramen are contained completely within the palatine bone and are accessory foramina to the larger, more anterior greater palatine foramina. The greater palatine foramen and the bony canal that leads to it are found as a space between the maxillary bone and the palatine bone.

Diagram Reference Guide