Superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle

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Superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle
Muscles of the pharynx and cheek.
Muscles of the pharynx, viewed from behind, together with the associated vessels and nerves.
Latin musculus constrictor pharyngis superior
Gray's subject #244 1143
Origin: medial pterygoid plate, pterygomandibular raphé, alveolar process
Insertion: pharyngeal raphe, pharyngeal tubercle
Nerve: Vagus nerve
Action: Swallowing
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12548650

The superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle is a quadrilateral muscle, thinner and paler than the inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle and middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle.

Origin and insertion

It arises from the lower third of the posterior margin of the medial pterygoid plate and its hamulus, from the pterygomandibular raphé, from the alveolar process of the mandible above the posterior end of the mylohyoid line, and by a few fibers from the side of the tongue.

The fibers curve backward to be inserted into the median raphé, being also prolonged by means of an aponeurosis to the pharyngeal spine on the basilar part of the occipital bone.

The superior fibers arch beneath the levator veli palatini muscle and the Eustachian tube.


The interval between the upper border of the muscle and the base of the skull is closed by the pharyngeal aponeurosis, and is known as the sinus of Morgagni.


As soon as the bolus of food is received in the pharynx, the elevator muscles relax, the pharynx descends, and the constrictores contract upon the bolus, and convey it downward into the esophagus.

Additional images

External links

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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