Styloid process

Last revised by Dr Francis Deng on 13 Mar 2021

The styloid process of the temporal bone is a slender osseous projection that points anteroinferiorly from the inferior surface of the petrous part of the temporal bone.

It serves as an anchor point for several muscles associated with the tongue and larynx:

It should be noted that all of these structures, along with the styloid process itself, develop from the second branchial arch (see branchial apparatus) and combined form the styloid apparatus

Morphological variants
  • type I: normal (less than 30 mm) 
  • type II: elongated (more than 30 mm)
  • type III: pseudoarticulated
  • type IV: segmented

Related pathology

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: temporal bone divisions (CT anatomy)
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  • Figure 2: diagram - temporal bone
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  • Figure 3: TMJ anatomy (Gray's anatomy)
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