The Constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle is the lower pharyngeal constrictor, contributing to speech and swallowing. Both areas of responsibility may be disturbed if the constrictor pharyngis muscle is inferior, cramped, or otherwise compromised. This is the case, for example, in the case of nerve paralysis or in the context of a peritonsillar abscess.

What is the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle?

The constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle is the lower of the three pharyngeal glands. The other two muscles of this group are the constrictor pharyngis superior muscle and the constrictor pharyngis medius muscle.

Together, the pharyngeal lobsters carry food or fluid to the esophagus during the pharyngeal transport phase. During pregnancy, the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle develops from the sixth branchial arch of the embryo. This gill arch also includes attachments for the laryngeal muscles (laryngeal muscles), larynx and blood vessels.

Since in the embryo the fourth and sixth arch of the gill merge together after only a short time, there is a closer relationship both spatially and functionally between the constrictor pharyngis medius muscle and the inferior muscle than between these two muscles and the constrictor pharyngis superior muscle. The latter is located in the top of the throat and closes the nose when swallowing together with the soft palate lift (Musculus levator veli palatini) and the soft palate tensioner (Musculus tensor veli palatini).

Anatomy & Construction

The constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle unites two parts: the thyropharyngeal and the cricopharyngeal pars. Both attach to the pharyngeal seam, which anatomy also called raphe pharyngis. It is located on the back wall of the pharynx and is partially visible from the outside through the pharyngeal mucosa. The other throat guillemans also start at the throat.

The two parts of the inferior constrictor pharyngeal muscle have different origins on the larynx. One of the laryngeal cartilages is the annular Cartilago cricoidea, which has grooves. The pars cricoidea of ​​the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle originates from such a notch - the linea obliqua. The pars thyroidea, on the other hand, arises from the thyroid cartilage, also known as thyroid cartilage or thyroid, which provides support for the pars thyroidea at its outer edge.

Overall, the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle appears in a fan-shaped form. He occurs on every side of the body once and belongs to striated muscles. Nerve fibers from the ninth and tenth cranial nerves (glossopharyngeal nerve and vagus nerve) control the activity of the lower pharyngeal gland, followed by the esophagus.

Function & Tasks

The functions of the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle include two functional areas. On the one hand, he plays a role in speaking and on the other contributes to swallowing. The Constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle affects the position of the larynx above the cartilage where it originates.

At this point, the vocalis muscle and the cricothyroid muscle act on the vocal folds, which the medicine also refers to as the internus and externus. They belong to the laryngeal muscles. During swallowing, the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle is active during the pharyngeal transport phase. Previously, the mouth minces the food in the oral preparation phase and promotes the porridge or the liquid in the oral transport phase to the throat. The subsequent pharyngeal transport phase consists of a complex interaction of different muscle groups.

The soft palate tensioner (tensor veli palatini muscle), the soft palate lifter (levator veli palatini muscle), and the upper pharyngeal constrictor (pharyngeal superior constrictor) seal the nasopharynx to invading food. With the help of the suprahyoid and infrahyoid muscles, the tongue pushes the contents of the mouth further back into the throat. The constrictor pharyngis medius muscle is responsible for transport in the mouth (mesopharynx), the constrictor pharyngis inferior muscle takes over the further transport of food in the larynx (hypopharynx). The pharyngeal transport phase is followed by the oesophageal transport phase in which the tunica muscularis of the esophagus pushes the bite to the stomach.


Impairment of the inferior constrictor pharyngeal muscle can interfere with speech and swallowing. Paralysis of the ninth and tenth cranial nerves innervating the lower pharyngeal gland are a possible cause of such disorders.

A nerve failure also affects other parts of the speech and swallowing muscles. The fibers of the glossopharyngeal nerve and vagus nerve pass over the pharyngeal plexus. The nerves, as well as the upper sections of the cranial nerves, may suffer from inflammation, tumors, bleeding, poisoning and injury. Rarely does the treatment of a breast carcinoma lead to unwanted damage to the pharyngeal pharynx. Events such as strokes or epileptic seizures, as well as neurodegenerative diseases can also affect the cranial nerves and their core areas in the brain. The extent and duration of the lesion are very different from case to case and depend not only on the underlying cause but also on individual factors.

In tonsillitis, in some cases, the infection spreads to other tissues. This may also affect the upper tonsil fossa (Fossa supratonsillaris), which is associated with the pharyngeal grubs, and cause an abscess. The medicine refers to such pus formation as peritonsillar abscess. This typically causes pain during swallowing, which can radiate to the ear, and leads to swelling in the affected area.

If the masticatory muscles also become inflamed and cramped, sufferers also suffer from an ankylosing pin (ankylostoma): they can no longer open their mouth without hindrance. Other symptoms of peritonsillar abscess include difficulty speaking and general signs of illness such as fever, chills, and discomfort.

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