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(Vallecula labeled at center right.)
(Vallecula labeled at center right.)

The epiglottic vallecula is a depression (vallecula) just behind the root of the tongue between the folds in the throat. These depressions serve as "spit traps"; saliva is temporarily held in the valleculae to prevent initiation of the swallowing reflex.

The vallecula is an important reference landmark used during intubation of the trachea. The procedure requires the blade-tip of a Macintosh-style laryngoscope to be placed as far as possible into the vallecula in order to facilitate directly visualizing the glottis.

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