The levator veli palatini has an important function in swallowing. He is part of the pharyngeal muscles. It prevents food or liquids from flowing into the nasal cavity.

What is the levator veli palatini muscle?

The levator veli palatini is located in the human head. It is part of the central nervous system and belongs to the muscles of the palate. The levator veli palatini is a muscle that is considered extremely short.

It is a roundish muscle, which is counted to the skeletal muscles of the head. The levator veli palatini is located in the pharyngeal muscles, where it ensures the functionality of the soft palate lifter. This makes the levator veli palatini musculature extremely important during swallowing. In particular, it has an important function in closing the connection from the mouth to the nasal cavity. This closure is regulated by the soft palate lift and the two upper lute pushers.

The closure ensures that neither food nor liquid components are pressed into the nasal cavity during swallowing. The levator veli palatini is mainly responsible for the functioning of the soft palate lifter. When swallowing, the musculature levator veli palatini tenses. As a result, the soft palate automatically lifts in this moment.

Anatomy & Construction

The IX. Cranial nerve is the glossopharyngeal nerve. It innervates organs and musculature involved in processes such as taste recognition, circulatory and respiratory regulation and swallowing. Together with the X. cranial nerve, the vagus nerve, it supplies the head and neck region of humans.

The vagus nerve is responsible for the supply of the larynx, important parts of the chest and also for the swallowing process. Together, the two cranial nerves innervate the pharyngeal muscles via the pharyngeal plexus. This area includes the soft-tissue lifter. This is controlled by the musculus levator veli palatini. The levator veli palatini is a short muscle. Its course begins at the pars petrosa of the temporal bone.

The temporal bone is called Os temporale and the Pars petrosa is the Felsenbeinpyramide. The levator veli palatini muscle pulls from the occluded cartilage of the tuba auditiva over the edge of the constrictor pharyngis superior muscle. From there, its path continues into the area of ​​the soft palate and from there to the soft palate. The soft palate is called Velum palatinum and is almost interwoven by the musculus levator veli palatini.

Function & Tasks

The main task of the levator veli palatini is to establish the function of the soft palate during swallowing. On the palate, there is an area that is referred to as a soft palate. When opening the mouth, the soft palate becomes visible at the end of the pharynx. Visually, it resembles a double fold or a suppository.

It hangs down the middle of the pharynx in the direction of the root of the tongue and is freely movable. The soft palate ensures that no food or liquids reach the area of ​​the nasal cavity. This clears the way to ensure the transmission of absorbed substances into the esophagus. This also applies to the saliva drainage in the mouth, in the event that no external supply of food or liquids takes place. The soft palate prevents accidental entry into the trachea. The levator veli palatini muscle tenses at the moment of swallowing. This tension causes the soft palate to lift. When lifted, the soft palate automatically becomes a closure and the food and liquids are automatically transported into the esophagus.

In addition, the levator veli palatini musculature together with the tensor veli palatini muscle supports the opening of the tuba auditiva. This is called Eustachiröhre or Eustachian tube. It causes a pressure equalization between the outer and the middle ear. This pressure equalization is important for the process of hearing to be performed. In addition, the soft palate and thus the levator veli palatini have a function in the linguistic development of certain sounds.


Pain in the area of ​​the palate can be caused by the intake of hot drinks or food. In addition to pain, these can also result in burns or scalding. The sensitive mucous membrane in the throat and in the palate area is thereby attacked. It comes to redness or swelling. Heavy burns cause small blisters.

Impairment of the functioning of the levator veli palatini muscle causes the formation of sounds no longer functioning properly. The consonant "r" can no longer be pronounced correctly. As the letter is formed, the soft palate flutters against the posterior tongue. This is not necessary and the letter can not be pronounced correctly. Also, letter combinations such as the "ch" can no longer be formed if the soft palate were not fully functional.

Other complaints or illnesses include various infections, neuralgia, inflammation, the formation of tumors or allergies. Toothache can also cause discomfort on the palate. Mushrooms can form on the lips, tongue or palate and cause discomfort. Defects of the mucous membranes lead to chewing and swallowing complaints. In addition, the sound is limited.

As a congenital malformation, the cleft lip and palate can split the soft palate. This can lead to impaired swallowing. Most of the malformation is corrected in the first weeks after birth via a surgical procedure.

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