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Historical Considerations

G.S. Lightoller, an anatomy demonstrator, worked with Professor A.N. Burkitt at the University of Sydney in the 1920's. They investigated facial anatomy, in particular the muscles of the lips. Lightoller reported in the 1926-27 Journal of Anatomy 1927 that there was confusion regarding the depressor septi muscle. Two separate muscles had been given the same name! Today, the name depressor septi usually refers to an extremely small muscle which arises on the anterior surface of the maxilla and inserts into the septum and floor of the nostril. The other muscle which was called depressor septi is the relatively large muscle of youth which Paul O'Keeffe has called superficial depressor septi.

Diagram illustrating muscles in columella base

There are a number of anatomy textbooks which have been published since the 19th century. The descriptions of the orbicularis oris muscle by the authors are interesting since it is common for slips of muscle from the anterior surface to be shown inserting into the footplates of the columella cartilages in one edition and not in the next edition. These slips resemble a smaller version of the superficial depressor septi muscle but they are rarely labelled as such.

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