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).


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?

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