Lateral Pterygoid

Written by Max Bidewell

Last updated January 16, 2023 • 3 Revisions

The lateral pterygoid is a muscle of mastication (chewing). It is triangular shaped muscle with superior and inferior heads.

  • Attachments:
    • The superior head originates from the greater wing of the sphenoid.
    • The inferior head originates from the lateral pterygoid plate of the sphenoid.
    • The two heads converge into a tendon which attaches to the neck of the mandible.
  • Actions:
    • Bilateral action – protraction of the mandible and depression of the chin.
    • Unilateral action  – ‘side to side’ movement of the jaw.
  • Innervation: Mandibular nerve (V3).
  • Blood Supply: Pterygoid branch of maxillary artery.

Fig 1
The medial and lateral pterygoids.

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