Palatopharyngeus muscle
Dissection of the muscles of the palate from behind (palatopharyngeus muscle labeled as pharyngopalatinus labeled at top center, below choanae)
Latin Musculus palatopharyngeus
Gray's subject #243 1139
Origin Palatine aponeurosis and hard palate
Insertion    Upper border of thyroid cartilage (blends with constrictor fibers)
Artery Facial artery
Nerve Pharyngeal branch of vagus nerve
Actions Pulls pharynx and larynx upward

The palatopharyngeus (palatopharyngeal or pharyngopalatinus) muscle is a small muscle in the roof of the mouth.

a long, fleshy fasciculus, narrower in the middle than at either end, forming, with the mucous membrane covering its surface, the palatopharyngeal arch.

Origin and insertion

It is separated from the palatoglossus muscle by an angular interval, in which the palatine tonsil is lodged. It arises from the soft palate, where it is divided into two fasciculi by the levator veli palatini and musculus uvulae.

  • The posterior fasciculus lies in contact with the mucous membrane, and joins with that of the opposite muscle in the middle line.
  • The anterior fasciculus, the thicker, lies in the soft palate between the levator and tensor veli palatini muscles, and joins in the middle line the corresponding part of the opposite muscle.

Passing lateralward and downward behind the palatine tonsil, the palatopharyngeus joins the stylopharyngeus and is inserted with that muscle into the posterior border of the thyroid cartilage, some of its fibers being lost on the side of the pharynx and others passing across the middle line posteriorly to decussate with the muscle of the opposite side.


The palatine velum is slightly raised by the levator veli palatini and made tense by the tensor veli palatini; the palatopharyngeus muscles, by their contraction, pull the pharynx upward over the bolus of food and nearly come together, the uvula filling up the slight interval between them.

By these means the bolus is prevented from passing into the nasopharynx; at the same time, the palatopharyngeus muscles form an inclined plane, directed obliquely downward and backward, along the under surface of which the bolus descends into the lower part of the pharynx.

Additional images


This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.

External links

  • LUC palp
  • GPnotebook
  • 31:04-05
  • 34:04-0104
  • 05287.011-1