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Levator Veli Palatini
Muscular System

Levator Veli Palatini

Levator veli palatini

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Quick Facts

Origin: Inferior surface of petrous part of temporal bone and cartilaginous portion of auditory tube.

Insertion: Palatine aponeurosis.

Action: Elevates and retracts soft palate.

Innervation: Pharyngeal plexus (CN X).

Arterial Supply: Ascending palatine and greater palatine arteries.

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The levator veli palatini muscle originates as a small tendon on the medial portion of the inferior surface of the petrous part of the temporal bone. Additionally, some fibers may originate from the inferior portion of the cartilaginous portion of the auditory (pharyngotympanic or Eustachian) tube and/or from the vaginal process of the sphenoid bone (Standring, 2016).


The levator veli palatini muscle inserts into the upper palatine aponeurosis and extends as far as the midline where its fibers interdigitate with its contralateral fellow.


The levator veli palatini muscle elevates and retracts the vertical portion of the posterior soft palate. It can also pull on the lateral nasopharyngeal walls and move them in a posterior and medial direction, thus narrowing the nasopharyngeal space (Standring, 2016).


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

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Levator Veli Palatini

ScienceDirect image

Symptomatic palatal tremor is produced primarily by a rhythmic contraction of the levator veli palatini and is frequently accompanied by synchronous movements of the eyes, face, pharynx, larynx, and diaphragm, and less commonly by movements of the extremities.

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