Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 271–286 | Cite as

Functional anatomy of the human lateral pterygoid muscle

  • A. El. Haddioui
  • F. Laison
  • A. Zouaoui
  • P. Bravetti
  • J. F. Gaudy
Original Article


The authors studied the lateral pterygoid muscle of 179 fresh cadavers by both anatomical dissection and magnetic resonance imaging. The aim was to define the general morphology and the architectural organisation of the lateral pterygoid muscle. Dissection plane by plane, anatomical sections in different planes of space and dissections via multiple approaches on harvested blocks allowed the demonstration that the lateral pterygoid shows an architectural arrangement different from that which is usually described but similar to that, from its typically penniform structure of the masseter and the medial pterygoid. The anatomical situation of this muscle gives rise to numerous differences in opinion much to its morphology as to its functional examination. This study has shown that one part of the muscle has a typical penniform structure made up of alternating musculo-aponeurotic layers and by the absence of individual muscle bellies. In addition the particular shape of this muscle makes it useless to insert intramuscular electrodes in its only accessible portion, which makes the results of electromyographic studies debatable.


Lateral pterygoid muscle Intrinsic anatomy Magnetic resonance imaging 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. El. Haddioui
    • 1
    • 2
  • F. Laison
    • 1
  • A. Zouaoui
    • 2
  • P. Bravetti
    • 3
  • J. F. Gaudy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire d’Anatomie FonctionnelleUniversité René DescartesParis 5, MontrougeFrance
  2. 2.Institut d’AnatomieCentre Universitaire des Saints-PèresParis 5France
  3. 3.Service d’odontologieCHU Hôpital Central NancyNancyFrance

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