Lateral pterygoid muscle
|Lateral pterygoid muscle|
|Origin||Superior head: infratemporal fossa. Inferior head: lateral pterygoid plate|
|Insertion||Superior head: anterior side of the condyle. Inferior head: pterygoid fovea|
|Artery||Pterygoid branches of maxillary artery|
|Nerve||Lateral pterygoid nerve from the mandibular nerve|
|Actions||depresses mandible, protrude mandible, side to side movement of mandible|
|Latin||Musculus pterygoideus lateralis,|
musculus pterygoideus externus
|Anatomical terms of muscle|
Origin and insertion
The upper/superior head originates on the infratemporal surface and infratemporal crest of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone and inserts onto the articular disc and fibrous capsule of the temporomandibular joint.
The primary function of the lateral pterygoid muscle is to pull the head of the condyle out of the mandibular fossa along the articular eminence to protrude the mandible. A concerted effort of the lateral pterygoid muscles helps in lowering the mandible and opening the jaw, whereas unilateral action of a lateral pterygoid produces contralateral excursion (a form of mastication), usually performed in concert with the medial pterygoids.
Unlike the other three muscles of mastication, the lateral pterygoid is the only muscle of mastication that assists in depressing the mandible (opening the jaw). At the beginning of this action it is assisted by the digastric, mylohyoid and geniohyoid muscles.