Helicis major muscle

Last revised by Reabal Najjar on 27 Apr 2023

The helicis major muscle is an intrinsic auricular muscle that plays a vestigial role in adjusting the shape of the ear.

  • origin: root of the helix of the ear

  • insertion: anterior border of the helix

  • blood supply: anterior auricular branches of the superficial temporal artery and others

  • innervation: temporal and posterior auricular branches of the facial nerve (CN VII)

  • action: vestigial function; possible role in adjusting the shape of the ear

The helicis major muscle is an intrinsic muscle of the auricle that originates at the root of the helix of the external ear.

The helicis major muscle inserts at the anterior border of the helix 2.

Blood supply to the intrinsic muscles of the ear, including the helicis major, is provided by the anterior auricular branches of the superficial temporal artery, the posterior auricular branch of the external carotid artery, the occipital artery, and the auricular branches of the maxillary arteries 3.

Venous drainage is facilitated by the pterygoid plexus, external jugular, and maxillary veins. Lymphatic drainage occurs anteriorly into the parotid nodes and posteriorly into the mastoid nodes, as well as some deep cervical nodes 3.

Innervation of the helicis major muscle is primarily provided by the temporal and posterior auricular branches of the facial nerve (CN VII) 2.

The helicis major muscle is considered a vestigial organ, a rudimentary structure that has lost its primary ancestral functions. However, it may still play a role in adjusting the shape of the ear by depressing the anterior aspect of the external ear 1.

This muscle develops from the second pharyngeal arch during embryogenesis 1.

The term "helicis major" is derived from the Latin word "helix," referring to the curved cartilaginous structure in the ear, and "major," which means larger or greater.

The helicis major muscle, although vestigial, may contribute to the auricular shape and movement. It could be of clinical importance in reconstructive surgery and prosthetic design for patients with congenital or acquired auricular deformities.

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