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Pharyngeal Plexus
Nervous System

Pharyngeal Plexus

Plexus pharyngeus

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Quick Facts

Origin: Vagus and glossopharyngeal nerves, superior cervical ganglion.

Course: Sits on the posterior surface of the middle constrictor muscle.

Branches: None.

Supply: Motor, sensory, and sympathetic innervation of most pharyngeal muscles and the pharyngeal mucosa.

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The pharyngeal plexus is a plexus of nerve fibers originating from three sources: the vagus nerve, the glossopharyngeal nerve, and the sympathetic chain.


The pharyngeal plexus sits on the posterolateral surface of the middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle.


There are no named branches.

Supplied Structures

The pharyngeal plexus is a mixed neural plexus, providing motor, sensory, and sympathetic innervation to the majority of the pharynx.

Branchial motor innervation comes from vagus nerve fibers. These innervate all the muscles of the pharynx, except the stylopharyngeus muscle. These pharyngeal muscles include the superior pharyngeal constrictor, middle pharyngeal constrictor, inferior pharyngeal constrictor, palatopharyngeus, and salpingopharyngeus muscles.

General sensory afferent innervation comes from vagus and glossopharyngeal fibers. These innervate the mucosa of the laryngopharynx and oropharynx, respectively.

Sympathetic innervation comes from the superior cervical ganglion. These innervate the pharyngeal vasculature and mucosal glands.

List of Clinical Correlates

—Gag reflex

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ScienceDirect image

) The myenteric plexus consists of ganglia located between the circular and longitudinal muscle layers.

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