Intravelar and extravelar portions of soft palate muscles in velic constrictions: A three-dimensional modeling study

Peter Anderson, Sidney Fels, Ian Stavness, William G. Pearson, Bryan Gick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Purpose: This study predicts and simulates the function and relative contributions of the intravelar and extravelar portions of the levator veli palatini (LVP) and palatoglossus (PG) muscles in velic constrictions. Method: A finite element-based model of the 3-dimensional upper airway structures (palate, pharynx, tongue, jaw, maxilla) was implemented, with LVP and PG divided into intravelar and extravelar portions. Simulations were run to investigate the contributions of these muscles in velopharyngeal port (VPP) closure and constriction of the oropharyngeal isthmus (OPI). Results: Simulations reveal that the extravelar portion of LVP, though crucial for lifting the palate, is not sufficient to effect VPP closure. Specifically, the characteristic “bulge” appearing in the posterior soft palate during VPP closure (Pigott, 1969; Serrurier & Badin, 2008) is found to result from activation of the intravelar portion of LVP. Likewise, the intravelar portion of posterior PG is crucial in bending the “veil” or “traverse” (Gick, Francis, Klenin, Mizrahi, & Tom, 2013) of the velum anteriorly to produce uvular constrictions of the OPI (Gick et al., 2014). Conclusions: Simulations support the view that intravelar LVP and PG play significant roles in VPP and OPI constrictions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-814
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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