On each side of the neck, stylopharyngeus is one of the internal muscles of the pharynx. It arises from the styloid process of the temporal bone. It passes inferiorly between the internal and external carotid arteries. It then enters the pharyngeal wall between the superior and middle constrictors. It inserts into the posterior and lateral border of the thyroid cartilage.
Its actions are multiple:
- elevate the larynx
- elevate the pharynx
- dilate the pharynx to permit the passage of a large food bolus, so facilitating swallowing
Stylopharyngeus is innervated by the muscular branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve (IX).