174 Physicians Online


Uvula deviation and gag reflex

Dear Ask The Doctor:
I noticed tonight that my uvula deviates to the left. I don't spend much time looking at it, so I'd never noticed it before. There are no oropharyngeal masses or tonsilar inflammation. I know uvular deviation can indicate a vagus motor lesion, but I am not experiencing any associated symptoms. I am wondering if this is something I should be concerned about or if there are cases of nonpathological uvular deviation?


The is innervated by the vagus nerve (Cranial Nerve X). Deviation of the uvula to one side implies a lower motor lesion of the vagus nerve opposite to the side the uvula is deviating to. An upper motor neuron vagus nerve lesion will present with the uvula deviating toward the side of the lesion. I would advise attending your family physician for history of any associated symptoms (difficulty swallowing, speech problems, nasal regurgitation, hoarseness) and physical examination including cranial nerve examination and testing the gag reflex, which is innervated by the vagus nerve, to identify any cranial nerve pathology and investigation as appropriate.

Comments / Follow Ups

Doctor Says: Hello Guest User,

Thank you for your comment. We are here to help you.

The main reason for having a uvular deviation is when you have a weakness of the 9th and the 10th cranial nerve. The cranial nerves originate from the brain and any lesion or injury at any point in their course can cause damage. A few causes I can think of deviation of uvula:
Infection of nerve
Compression of the nerve
Tumours causing compression of nerve

Direct physical injury to the uvula may also cause its deviation. Such causes can be:
Swallowing a big object or something that cut the uvula
Injury to the throat
Injury to the jaw like that in a road traffic accident or a sport

If you have deviation of the uvula, please see an Ear, Nose and Throat Doctor and they will help you reach the diagnosis and also advise you the best treatment option. All the best.

Sign In to join in the conversation.

You’re in good hands, meet ATD’s founding physicians.

Dr. Suneel Sharman M.D.

  • Board Certified GP
  • CMO ATD Health Network Inc.
  • Adjunct Professor at U Of T

Dr. Kunaal Jindal M.D.

  • Board Certified Plastic Surgeon
  • Director ATD Health Network Inc.
  • Fellowship Training Atlanta, GA

Related Answers:

Ataxia cerebellum prognosis? I would like to know what could possibly happen with this disease,to plan the futur...

I have been having trouble remembering things I do after I do them. It is getting worse, that it is affecting my dail...

I had a head injury today. I slipped and fell backwards on a rock. My head hit the rock and there is a cut. Some blee...

I have a very strange sensation that I can only describe as it feels as though someone has their hand wrapped about m...

I would like to know if I have motor Neuron Disease. After seeing what I have down in an earlier thread "My righ...

My girlfriends dad is in a coma from a motorcycle accident and he seems to be slowly getting better. At first there w...

I had a head injury 8 days ago..i feel numbness in my head, swelling due to bump on the head...but now i dont feel h...

Should i be concerned about not being able to tell my dreams from reality, its kinda scary

Cervical dystonia Is it a hereditary disease???? Is it can be transmitted to children by Father???

I am 22 year male ,i was licked by a dog on pimple / red bump on leg 9 years ago when i was 13 or something . i didn...