Anatomy word of the month: philtrum

July 1, 2013 —

Dante-Gabriel-Rossetti-Il-Ramoscello-Oil-PaintingWhy would that dimple under your nose be called a “love potion”? In ancient times when people did not bath regularly, ladies placed a drop of perfume between the two raised ridges of their upper lip. It was intended to disguise both their own smell and that of their lovers. These two ridges on either side of the dimple are fusion lines in the development of the upper jaw. The two sides of the upper jaw come together and meet a midline pillar of tissue to complete the upper lip. For this reason a cleft lip, or “hare lip” in popular terms, occurs more commonly slightly off center than in the midline which is the normal anatomy for hares (rabbits).


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