Medial pterygoid muscle

The medial pterygoid muscle (or internal pterygoid muscle), is a thick, quadrilateral muscle of the face. It is supplied by the mandibular branch of the trigeminal nerve (V). It is important in mastication (chewing).

Medial pterygoid
The Pterygoidei; the zygomatic arch and a portion of the ramus of the mandible have been removed. (Internus is visible at center bottom.)
The otic ganglion and its branches. (Pterygoideus internus labeled at bottom right.)
Origindeep head: medial side of lateral pterygoid plate behind the upper teeth
superficial head: pyramidal process of palatine bone and maxillary tuberosity
Insertionmedial angle of the mandible
Arterypterygoid branches of maxillary artery
Nervemandibular nerve via nerve to medial pterygoid
Actionselevates mandible, closes jaw, helps lateral pterygoids in moving the jaw from side to side
Latinmusculus pterygoideus medialis, musculus pterygoideus internus
Anatomical terms of muscle


The medial pterygoid muscle consists of two heads. The bulk of the muscle arises as a deep head from just above the medial surface of the lateral pterygoid plate. The smaller, superficial head originates from the maxillary tuberosity and the pyramidal process of the palatine bone.

Its fibers pass downward, lateral, and posterior, and are inserted, by a strong tendinous lamina, into the lower and back part of the medial surface of the ramus and angle of the mandible, as high as the mandibular foramen. The insertion joins the masseter muscle to form a common tendinous sling which allows the medial pterygoid and masseter to be powerful elevators of the jaw.

Nerve supplyEdit

The medial pterygoid muscle is supplied by the medial pterygoid nerve, a branch of the mandibular nerve, itself a branch of the trigeminal nerve (V). This also supplies the tensor tympani muscle and the tensor veli palatini muscle. The medial pterygoid nerve is a main trunk from the mandibular nerve, before the division of the trigeminal nerve - this is unlike the lateral pterygoid muscle, and all other muscles of mastication which are supplied by the anterior division of the mandibular nerve.


The medial pterygoid muscle has functions including elevating the mandible (closing the mouth), protruding the mandible, mastication (especially for when the maxillary teeth and the mandibular teeth are close together),[1] and excursing the mandible (contralateral excursion occurs with unilateral contraction).

Additional imagesEdit


  This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 387 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  1. ^ Wood, W W (1986-05-01). "Medial pterygoid muscle activity during chewing and clenching". The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry. 55 (5): 615–621. doi:10.1016/0022-3913(86)90043-0. ISSN 1097-6841. PMID 3458914.

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