Tongue

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The tongue is a complex, principally muscular, structure that extends from the oral cavity to the oropharynx. It has important roles in speech, swallowing and taste. 

The tongue has a tip, ventral surface, dorsal surface and root. The tongue is made of a midline lingual septum and hypoglossus membrane, and multiple muscles 1,2,4. The muscles are divided into intrinsic and extrinsic muscle groups:

The tongue is divided into two parts at the level of the circumvallate papillae 1,3:

  • mobile tongue: anterior two-thirds; part of the oral cavity
  • base of tongue: posterior one-third; fixed; part of the oropharynx

The tongue is covered by a mucosa, which is roughened on the dorsal surface covered by filiform, fungiform and circumvallate papillae. Posteriorly, the base of the tongue contains the lingual tonsils 4.  

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 45558
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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