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Medial pterygoid muscle

Origin, insertion, innervation and functions of the medial pterygoid muscle.

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Hey, everyone! It’s Matt from Kenhub, and in this tutorial, we will discuss the function of the medial pterygoid muscle.

The pterygoid muscles, also known as the wing muscles, are two jaw muscles located on the inner surface of the mandible. The names of the two muscles are the medial and the lateral pterygoid muscles, and as mentioned, we will focus on the medial pterygoid muscle, which you see, highlighted in green, on this image.

This muscle originates from the pterygoid fossa and pterygoid process of the sphenoid. Distally, it inserts on the pterygoid tuberosity on the inner surface of the mandibular angle. It is divided into superficial and deep parts.

Along with the masseter, this muscle forms a sling around the mandible. The medial pterygoid can be palpated medially to the ramus of the mandible both intra and extraorally.

The medial pterygoid muscle is supplied by the medial pterygoid nerve, a branch of the mandibular nerve.

The pterygoid muscles are muscles of mastication and serve the movement of the temporomandibular joint, the contraction of the medial pterygoid elevates the mandible, highlighted here in green, and moves it forward. So simply, it causes jaw closure and jaw protrusion. These movement are reinforced by the muscle sling formed with the masseter.

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