, Volume 29, Issue 6, pp 722–730 | Cite as

Anatomical Considerations of the Longitudinal Pharyngeal Muscles in Relation to their Function on the Internal Surface of Pharynx

  • Da-Yae Choi
  • Jung-Hee Bae
  • Kwan-Hyun Youn
  • Hee-Jin Kim
  • Kyung-Seok HuEmail author
Original Article


The aim of this study was to clarify the topography of the longitudinal pharyngeal muscles and to relate the findings to pharyngeal muscular function. Forty-four specimens (22 right and 22 left sides) from embalmed Korean adult cadavers (13 males, 9 females; age range, 46–89 years; mean age, 69.2 years) were used in this study. The palatopharyngeus muscle originated from the palatine aponeurosis and the median part of the soft palate on oral aspect; it ran downward and lateralward, respectively. The palatopharyngeus muscle, which held the levator veli palatini, was divided into two bundles, medial and lateral, according to the positional relationship with the levator veli palatini. The lateral bundle of the palatopharyngeus muscle was divided into two parts: longitudinal and transverse. The pharyngeal longitudinal muscles were classified into the following four types (I–IV) depending on the area of insertion: they were inserted into the palatine tonsil, epiglottis, arytenoid cartilage, piriform recess, thyroid cartilage, and pharyngeal wall. The transverse part of the palatopharyngeus muscle plays a role as a sphincter. Palatopharyngeus and levator veli palatini muscles help each other to function effectively in the soft palate. The present findings suggest that the pharyngeal muscles are involved not only in swallowing but also in respiration and phonation via their attachment to the laryngeal cartilage.


Longitudinal pharyngeal muscles Palatopharyngeus Function Laryngeal cartilage Deglutition 


Conflict of interest

We did not receive any equipment, materials and medications for this study.


  1. 1.
    Borley NR, Standring S, Gray H. Gray’s anatomy : the anatomical basis of clinical practice. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone; 2008.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sumida K, Yamashita K, Kitamura S. Gross anatomical study of the human palatopharyngeus muscle throughout its entire course from origin to insertion. Clin Anat. 2012;25:314–23. doi: 10.1002/ca.21233.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Meng H, Murakami G, Suzuki D, Miyamoto S. Anatomical variations in stylopharyngeus muscle insertions suggest interindividual and left/right differences in pharyngeal clearance function of elderly patients: a cadaveric study. Dysphagia. 2008;23:251–7. doi: 10.1007/s00455-007-9131-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Okuda S, Abe S, Kim HJ, Agematsu H, Mitarashi S, Tamatsu Y, et al. Morphologic characteristics of palatopharyngeal muscle. Dysphagia. 2008;23:258–66. doi: 10.1007/s00455-007-9133-0.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Kahrilas PJ. Pharyngeal structure and function. Dysphagia. 1993;8:303–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Tsumori N, Abe S, Agematsu H, Hashimoto M, Ide Y. Morphologic characteristics of the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle in relation to the function during swallowing. Dysphagia. 2007;22:122–9. doi: 10.1007/s00455-006-9063-2.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Vandaele DJ, Perlman AL, Cassell MD. Intrinsic fibre architecture and attachments of the human epiglottis and their contributions to the mechanism of deglutition. J Anat. 1995;186(Pt 1):1–15.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ekberg O, Sigurjonsson SV. Movement of the epiglottis during deglutition. A cineradiographic study. Gastrointest Radiol. 1982;7:101–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reidenbach MM. Aryepiglottic fold: normal topography and clinical implications. Clin Anat. 1998;11:223–35. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2353(1998)11:4<223::AID-CA1>3.0.CO;2-S.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Negus V. The comparative anatomy and physiology of the larnyx. New York: Hafner; 1949.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Moore KL, Dalley AF. Clinically oriented anatomy. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer; 2010.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tank PW, Gest TR, Burkel WE, Wilkins LW. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins atlas of anatomy. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Schünke M, Schilte E, Schumacher U. Thieme atlas of anatomy. Stuttgart: Thieme; 2006.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hwang K, Kim DJ, Hwang SH. Microscopic relation of palatopharyngeus with levator veli palatini and superior constrictor. J Craniofac Surg. 2009;20:1591–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Da-Yae Choi
    • 1
  • Jung-Hee Bae
    • 1
  • Kwan-Hyun Youn
    • 1
  • Hee-Jin Kim
    • 1
  • Kyung-Seok Hu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Division in Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Department of Oral Biology, Human Identification Research Center BK21 PLUS ProjectYonsei University College of DentistrySeoulSouth Korea

Personalised recommendations