Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Palatopharyngeus Muscle
Muscular System

Palatopharyngeus Muscle

Musculus palatopharyngeus

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: Horizontal plate of palatine bone; palatine aponeurosis.

Insertion: Lateral wall of pharynx; posterior border of thyroid cartilage.

Action: Pulls the pharynx in superior, anterior and medial directions; tenses soft palate.

Innervation: Pharyngeal plexus (CN X).

Arterial Supply: Ascending palatine, greater palatine, and ascending pharyngeal arteries.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free


The palatopharyngeus muscle consists of two muscular bundles that originate from the horizontal plate of palatine bone and the upper portion of the palatine aponeurosis. The muscular bundles are separated by the levator veli palatini muscle (Standring, 2016).


The two muscular bands of the palatopharyngeus muscle merge at the posterolateral border of the soft palate, where they also blend with the salpingopharyngeus muscle. It inserts into the lateral aspect of the pharynx and the posterior aspect of the thyroid cartilage (Standring, 2016).

Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The palatopharyngeus muscle and its overlying mucosal layer form the palatopharyngeal arches (palatopharyngeal fold or posterior pillar/column of fauces) on either side of the oropharynx.


The palatopharyngeus muscle pulls the pharynx in superior, anterior and medial directions. This action is used when swallowing. The palatopharyngeus muscle tenses the soft palate by drawing the palatopharyngeal arches anteriorly (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

Palatopharyngeus Muscle

ScienceDirect image

The longitudinal muscles are the stylopharyngeus, salpingopharyngeus, and palatopharyngeus muscles, and they elevate and shorten the pharynx during swallowing.

Explore on ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy