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Vomer

Other Terms: Vomer bone

Type

flat

Description

The vomer resembles a plowshare. It has a flat, median, vertical blade-like process with transverse posterosuperior projections resembling the handles. This is a small, thin, unpaired bone that sits in the median plane. It has a quadrilateral to triangular shape, being wider at its base and tapering toward its antero-inferior apex. It forms the inferior portion of the bony nasal septum. Its transverse projecting superior border forms two alae. It has three articular borders, one nonarticular border, and two surfaces. The borders are superior, inferior, anterior, and posterior. The surfaces face laterally and form the lower, medial wall of the nasal cavities.

Etymology

Vomer is Latin meaning a plowshare. It probably arises from the Latin word vomere meaning to vomit. The plow throws up or vomits the earth to one side.

Articulations

The vomer articulates with six bones and one cartilage: the two maxillae, the two palatines, the ethmoid and the sphenoid. Its superior border and alae form a strong articulation with the sphenoid bone. The anterior border articulates with the perpendicular plate of the ethmoid bone superiorly, and with the septal cartilage inferiorly. Its inferior border articulates with the superior palatine crest of the maxillae and palatine bones.

Ossification

This bone ossifies in dense collagenous connective tissue forming the postero-inferior part of the nasal septum. During the eighth embryonic week two centers arise parasagittal to the midline. These two centers represent paired bones, but because of their proximity they ossify by puberty and the bone appears unpaired. In the adult vomer, the paired alae and the split furrow at the anterior border remain as evidence of the bilateral origin of the bone.

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