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Inferior Head of Lateral Pterygoid Muscle
Muscular System

Inferior Head of Lateral Pterygoid Muscle

Caput inferius musculi pterygoidei lateralis

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Quick Facts

Origin: Lateral aspect of lateral pterygoid plate of sphenoid bone.

Insertion: Neck of mandible.

Action: Laterally moves and protracts mandible.

Innervation: Nerve to lateral pterygoid muscle (CN V3).

Arterial Supply: Pterygoid branches of maxillary artery and ascending palatine artery.

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The lateral pterygoid muscle arises as two heads. The inferior head originates from the lateral aspect of the lateral pterygoid plate of the sphenoid bone.


The muscular fibers of the lateral pterygoid muscle converge and course in a posterolateral direction to insert into the pterygoid fovea on the neck of the mandibular. Some fibers from the upper head may also attach to the articular disc of the temporomandibular joint (Standring, 2016).

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The fibers of the lateral pterygoid are orientated horizontally.


Overall, the lateral pterygoid muscle is involved in multiple actions:

- during unilateral contraction, it laterally moves the mandible to the opposite side at the temporomandibular joint;

- during bilateral contraction, it protracts the mandible at the temporomandibular joint (Standring, 2016).


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

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Lateral Pterygoid Muscle

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The lateral pterygoid muscle originates from the lateral pterygoid plate and inserts on the pterygoid fovea under the anterior aspect of the mandibular condyle.

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