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Tongue is a muscular organ concerned with taste, speech, mastication and deglutition. It is partly situated in oral cavity proper and partly in oropharynx. The tongue has a root, a tip (apex) and a body. Body has an upper surface (dorsum) and an inferior surface. The dorsum is divided into oral and pharyngeal parts by a V-shaped, the sulcus terminalis. The two limbs of 'V' meet at a median pit, known as foramen caecum. The oral and pharyngeal parts differ in their development, topography, structure and function. Third part of tongue (beside oral and pharyngeal parts) is posterior most part. Thus tongue has three parts: (i) Oral or papillary part, (ii) Pharyngeal or lymphoid part, and (iii) Posterior most part.



Nerve supply of tongue



Taste sensation

General (Touch and temperature)

Anterior 2/3

(except circumvallate papillae)

Chorda tympani

Lingual branch of mandibular
division of trigeminal nerve

Posterior 113 including

circumvallate papillae



Posterior most part

Internal laryngeal branch of vagus

Internal laryngeal branch of vagus


Lymphatic drainage of tongue

  1. Tip of the tongue drains into submental nodes, anterior 2/3 drains into submandibular nodes, and posterior one thirdintojugulodigastric nodes.
  2. Finally all lymphatics drain intojugulomohyoid nodes, also known as lymph nodes of tongue.

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