The purpose of the present study is to provide useful data that could be applied to various types of periodontal plastic surgery by detailing the topography of the greater palatine artery (GPA), looking in particular at its depth from the palatal masticatory mucosa (PMM) and conducting a morphometric analysis of the palatal vault. Forty-three hemisectioned hard palates from embalmed Korean adult cadavers were used in this study. The morphometry of the palatal vault was analyzed, and then the specimens were decalcified and sectioned. Six parameters were measured using an image-analysis system after performing a standard calibration. In one specimen, the PMM was separated from the hard palate and subjected to a partial Sihler's staining technique, allowing the branching pattern of the GPA to be observed in a new method. The distances between the GPA and the gingival margin, and between the GPA and the cementoenamel junction were greatest at the maxillary second premolar. The shortest vertical distance between the GPA and the PMM decreased gradually as it proceeded anteriorly. The GPA was located deeper in the high-vault group than in the low-vault group. The premolar region should be recommended as the optimal donor site for tissue grafting, and in particular the second premolar region. The maximum size and thickness of tissue that can be harvested from the region were 9.3 mm and 4.0 mm, respectively.
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