A Three-Dimensional Atlas of Human Tongue Muscles

Authors

  • Ira Sanders,

    1. Alice and David Jurist Institute for Biomedical Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey
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  • Liancai Mu

    Corresponding author
    1. Upper Airway Research Laboratory, Department of Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey
    • Alice and David Jurist Institute for Biomedical Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey
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Correspondence to: Liancai MU, M.D., Ph.D., Upper Airway Research Laboratory, Department of Research, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey 07601. E-mail: lmu@humed.com

ABSTRACT

The human tongue is one of the most important yet least understood structures of the body. One reason for the relative lack of research on the human tongue is its complex anatomy. This is a real barrier to investigators as there are few anatomical resources in the literature that show this complex anatomy clearly. As a result, the diagnosis and treatment of tongue disorders lags behind that for other structures of the head and neck. This report intended to fill this gap by displaying the tongue's anatomy in multiple ways. The primary material used in this study was serial axial images of the male and female human tongue from the Visible Human (VH) Project of the National Library of Medicine. In addition, thick serial coronal sections of three human tongues were rendered translucent. The VH axial images were computer reconstructed into serial coronal sections and each tongue muscle was outlined. These outlines were used to construct a three-dimensional (3D) computer model of the tongue that allows each muscle to be seen in its in vivo anatomical position. The thick coronal sections supplement the 3D model by showing details of the complex interweaving of tongue muscles throughout the tongue. The graphics are perhaps the clearest guide to date to aid clinical or basic science investigators in identifying each tongue muscle in any part of the human tongue. Anat Rec, 296:1102–1114, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Ancillary