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Middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle

Middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle
Muscles of the pharynx and cheek (middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle labeled as constrictor pharyngis medius at center left)
Muscles of the pharynx, viewed from behind, together with the associated vessels and nerves (middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle labeled as Mid. constr. at center)
Latin Musculus constrictor pharyngis medius
Hyoid bone
Pharyngeal raphe
Ascending pharyngeal artery
Pharyngeal plexus of vagus nerve
Actions Swallowing
Gray's p.1143
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Anatomical terms of muscle

The middle pharyngeal constrictor is a fanshaped muscle located in the neck. It is one of three pharyngeal constrictors. Similarly to the superior and inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscles, the middle pharyngeal constrictor is innervated by a branch of the vagus nerve through the pharyngeal plexus. The middle pharyngeal constrictor is smaller than the inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle.


The middle pharyngeal constrictor arises from the whole length of the upper border of the greater cornu of the hyoid bone, from the lesser cornu, and from the stylohyoid ligament.

The fibers diverge from their origin: the lower ones descend beneath the constrictor inferior, the middle fibers pass transversely, and the upper fibers ascend and overlap the constrictor superior.

It is inserted into the posterior median fibrous raphe, blending in the middle line with the muscle of the opposite side.


As soon as the bolus of food is received in the pharynx, the elevator muscles relax, the pharynx descends, and the constrictors contract upon the bolus, and convey it downward into the esophagus.[1][2] They also have respiratory mechanical effects.[3]

Additional images


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Rowe LD, Miller AJ, Chierici G, Clendenning D (August 1984). "Adaptation in the function of pharyngeal constrictor muscles". Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery 92 (4): 392–401. PMID 6435057. 
  2. ^ Donner, Martin W.; Bosnia, James F.; Robertson, Diane L. (1985). "Anatomy and physiology of the pharynx". Gastrointestinal Radiology 10 (1): 197–212. ISSN 0364-2356. doi:10.1007/BF01893103. 
  3. ^ Kuna, Samuel T (2000). "Respiratory-related activation and mechanical effects of the pharyngeal constrictor muscles". Respiration Physiology 119 (2-3): 155–161. ISSN 0034-5687. doi:10.1016/S0034-5687(99)00110-3. 

Further reading

  • Its role in speech: Hamaker, Ronald C.; Blom, Eric D. (2003). "Botulinum Neurotoxin for Pharyngeal Constrictor Muscle Spasm in Tracheoesophageal Voice Restoration". The Laryngoscope 113 (9): 1479–1482. ISSN 0023-852X. doi:10.1097/00005537-200309000-00010. 
  • Its role in Hyoid bone syndrome: Ernest, Edwin A.; Salter, E. George (1991). "Hyoid bone syndrome: A degenerative injury of the middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle with photomicroscopic evidence of insertion tendinosis". The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry 66 (1): 78–83. ISSN 0022-3913. doi:10.1016/0022-3913(91)90357-3. 

External links