Palatal Myoclonus

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
  • Daniel Tarsy
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Palatal myoclonus (PM), also known as palatal tremor, is a rare disorder which causes low-frequency 1–3 Hz contractions of the uvula and soft palate. Secondary PM most commonly occurs secondary to a lesion in the brainstem or cerebellum within Mollaret’s triangle which comprises the cerebellar dentate nucleus, red nucleus, central tegmental tract, and inferior olivary nucleus. There is sometimes associated myoclonus of the face, eye muscles, tongue, or larynx. Secondary PM is due to rhythmic contractions of the levator veli palatine muscle. Primary or essential PM is less common, occurs in the absence of an identifiable lesion, is usually isolated, produces audible ear clicking, and is usually absent during sleep.


Botulinum Toxin Soft Palate Rare Disorder Involuntary Movement Anticholinergic Drug 
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Supplementary material

Intraoral video shows irregular low-frequency (about 2 Hz) PM.

Palatal myoclonus.mp4 (MP4 1,578KB)


  1. 1.
    Deuschl G, Mischke G, Schenck E, Schulte-Monting J, Lucking CH. Symptomatic and essential rhythmic palatal myoclonus. Brain. 1990;113:1645–72.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cho JW, Chu K, Jeon BS. Case of essential palatal tremor: atypical features and remarkable benefit from botulinum toxin injection. Mov Disord. 2001;16:779–82.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roongroj Bhidayasiri
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel Tarsy
    • 3
  1. 1.Chulalongkorn Center of Excellence on Parkinson’s Disease and Related DisordersChulalongkorn University HospitalBangkokThailand
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Department of NeurologyHarvard Medical School Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA

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