Epiglottic vallecula

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Epiglottic vallecula
(Vallecula labeled at center right.)
Latin vallecula epiglottica
TA A05.3.01.020
FMA 55037
Anatomical terminology

The epiglottic vallecula is a depression (vallecula) just behind the root of the tongue between the folds in the throat. These depressions serve as "spit traps"; saliva is temporarily held in the valleculae to prevent initiation of the swallowing reflex.

The vallecula is an important reference landmark used during intubation of the trachea. The procedure requires the blade-tip of a Macintosh-style laryngoscope to be placed as far as possible into the vallecula in order to facilitate directly visualizing the glottis.

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This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)