Superior longitudinal muscle of the tongue

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 2 Aug 2021

The superior longitudinal muscle of the tongue is one of the four intrinsic muscles of the tongue which alter the shape of the tongue mass, being entirely confined to the tongue without any extraglossal attachment (cf. extrinsic muscles of the tongue).

The muscles fibers attach proximally to the fibrous median septum and submucosal fibrous layer and attach distally to the tongue margins and overlying mucous membrane.

They lie superior to the transverse and vertical intrinsic muscles.

Like all the intrinsic muscles of the tongue, it is innervated by the hypoglossal nerve (CN XII).

The muscle's fibers act to curl the apex and lateral sides of the tongue upwards and when acting together with the inferior longitudinal muscle of the tongue they shorten and retract the tongue when it is protruding.

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