To identify the nature of Woodruff's plexus, which has been frequently mentioned in the rhinological literature but has never been properly characterised.
A study using 21 cadaveric specimens, combining microdissection of the mucosa of the posterior part of the inferior meatus, Spalteholz ‘clearing’ of specimens injected with latex ink, and histological analysis of sections of the inferior meatal mucosa.
Microdissection revealed a superficial plexus of thin walled vessels in the inferior meatus, which were also seen in cleared, injected specimens. Histological sections showed these vessels to be large, thin walled veins with very little muscle or fibrous tissue, within a thin mucosa relatively devoid of other structures.
Woodruff's plexus is a venous plexus in the posterior part of the inferior meatus.
This is the first time Woodruff's plexus has been properly characterised. Whilst the significance of the plexus itself is uncertain, its long overdue identification as a venous plexus provides a platform for further study and discussion.
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