Asked by Ed , Atlanta, Georgia
I was told I have a bifid uvula. Will it cause any problems?
Living Well Expert
Dr. Jennifer Shu
Children's Medical Group
Having a bifid uvula means that the tissue that dangles in the back of the throat between the tonsils has two parts instead of one.
This occurs in about 2 percent of the population and is something that I commonly see in my patients who are healthy and just happen to have a bifid uvula.
For more information about the uvula, I consulted with Dr. Mark Brown, an Austin, Texas, physician who is board certified in Otolaryngology (ENT), Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, and Sleep Medicine.
Dr. Brown reports that the palate forms in the womb by coming together from each side and fusing in the middle, forming a complete roof of the mouth. The uvula is a remnant from the development of the palate.
One can think of a bifid uvula as resulting from a palate that fused all along from front to back but that stopped before the uvula got fully together and remains split in the middle to varying degrees.
In the case of a cleft palate, the sides don't meet up and there is a gap in the roof of the mouth.
The only concern with a bifid uvula is that there are rare occasions when a "submucous" (under the tissue lining) cleft palate occurs, meaning that the midline fusion occurred but did so incompletely. In that situation, if an adenoidectomy (removal of the adenoid) is performed, the palate might not work well in closing off the nose from the mouth during speaking and swallowing.
If a bifid uvula is seen on exam, the palate therefore needs to be felt to make sure it is solid before operating.
Does my numb leg mean I have a circulation problem?« Back to Living Well
How much liquid should I drink daily?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. All comments should be relevant to the topic and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. You are solely responsible for your own comments, the consequences of posting those comments, and the consequences of any reliance by you on the comments of others. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying and other information you provide via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
The information contained on this page does not and is not intended to convey medical advice. CNN is not responsible for any actions or inaction on your part based on the information that is presented here. Please consult a physician or medical professional for personal medical advice or treatment.