Knowledge of the location of the hypoglossal/lingual artery neurovascular bundle (HLNVB) is essential in performing tongue base resections for neoplasm and for obstructive sleep apnea. Transoral and transcervical resections of the tongue base may be performed with greater exposure and certainty when the relationship of the HLNVB to local landmarks is understood; knowledge of the HLNVB allows resection of a larger amount of contralateral tongue base during partial glossectomy without violating the contralateral remnant tongues blood supply. Ten cadaver heads were dissected to determine the position of the HLNVB with respect to soft tissue and bony landmarks at the tongue base. Our results indicate the position of the tongue base HLNVB is significantly inferior and lateral, that is, 2.7 cm inferior and 1.6 cm lateral to the foramen cecum, 0.9 cm superior to the hyoid bone, and 2.2 cm medial to the mandible. This inferolateral location allows the potential for aggressive tongue base resection without neurovascular compromise.
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