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Anat Cell Biol

Published online July 30, 2020


Copyright © Korean Association of ANATOMISTS.

Anatomical variations of the stylopharyngeus and superior constrictors in relation to their function

Da-Yae Choi1 , Jung-Hee Bae2 , Kyung-Seok Hu3 , Hee-Jin Kim3

1Department of Dental Hygiene, Catholic Kwandong University, Gangneung, 2Department of Dental Hygiene, Division of Health Sciences, Namseoul University, Cheonan, 3Division in Anatomy and Developmental Biology, Department of Oral Biology, Human Identification Research Center, BK21 PLUS Project, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul, Korea

Correspondence to:Hee-Jin Kim
Department of Oral Biology, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, Seoul 03722, Korea
E-mail: hjk776@yuhs.ac

Received: June 22, 2020; Accepted: July 7, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The aims of this study were to clarify the topography and variations stylopharyngeus (STP) and superior constrictor (SC) muscles, and to examine what role they play in the pharyngeal movement. Forty-four specimens (22 right and 22 left sides) from embalmed Korean adult cadavers (13 males, 9 females; age range, 46–89 years; mean age, 69.2 years) were used in this study. The accessory bundle of STP and petropharyngeus was found in 18.2% (8/44) and 25.0% (11/44) of cases, respectively. A variation of the STP, in which it ran transversely and merged with the SC muscle, was found in 2.3% (1/44) of cases while a variation of the SC muscle, in which it ran longitudinally and merged with the contralateral constrictors, was found in 11.4% (5/44). The variant muscle bundles play their own role in pharyngeal movement according to their morphology. These results provide information that will help a comprehensive understanding of the effects of pharyngeal muscles on movement.

Keywords: Pharyngeal muscles, Stylopharyngeus, Velopharyngeal sphincter, Deglutition, Anatomy

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