Pharyngeal constrictor muscles

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 23 Feb 2024

The pharyngeal constrictor muscles are a group of involuntary muscles attached to the pharyngobasilar fascia that sequentially constrict the pharynx to propel food into the esophagus during swallowing.

Gross anatomy

The group comprises three circular muscles:

Between each muscle exists gaps that allow muscles, nerves and vessels to course towards the oral cavity and larynx.

The three bilateral longitudinal muscles arranged internal to the constrictors are:


The pharyngeal plexus derived from the pharyngeal branches of the vagus nerves innervate the constrictor and longitudinal muscles apart from stylopharyngeus which is supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerve.

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