The musculus sternothyroideus is a muscle of the human skeletal system. It is located between the tongue and the larynx. His job is to support the swallowing process.

What is the musculus sternothyroideus?

The sternothyroid muscle is called sternum-thyroid cartilage muscle. It is a muscle that belongs to the musculature of the hyoid bone. This is called infrahyal musculature.

The sternothyroid muscle is a narrow muscle that pulls from the sternum to the upper part of the larynx. He is instrumental in the implementation of human swallowing. As soon as the muscle fibers of the sternothyroid muscle contract, the hyoid bone moves downwards. At the same time, the larynx is also moved downwards. This process takes place at the moment when the swallowing reflex starts. This clears the way to the stomach. This process is no longer subject to volitional control, even though the preparations for the act of swallowing are controlled and planned.

Anatomy & Construction

The musculus sternothyroideus is a striated muscle. This means that the muscle fibers of the muscle have an arrangement in which they repeat themselves periodically.

This results in a specific pattern. It is created by horizontal stripes. The musculus sternothyroideus arises from the manubrium sterni. This is part of the sternum. It is located cranially, so above and forms the widest part of the sternum. This is called a sternum in medicine. The sternum connects to the collarbone. The larynx is called a larynx. It consists of fibers and cartilage and is set in motion by various muscles. The larynx has a vertical shape and is surrounded by various layers of cartilage.

These include the thyroid cartilage, the cricoid cartilage, the arytenoid cartilage and the epiglottis cartilage. The thyroid cartilage is called Cartilago thyreoidea. The sternothyroid muscle runs from the sternum below the sternohyoid muscle. His path goes to the thyroid cartilage, which he sets in motion. The musculus sternothyroideus is innervated by the ansa cervicalis. This is a neural pathway composed of various fibers of the cervical and spinal cord.

Function & Tasks

The sternothyroid muscle, along with other oral and pharyngeal muscles, is responsible for swallowing. During the act of swallowing, it first comes to an increase of the throat and then to a lowering. At the same time, the trachea is closed so that the fluids, food and saliva produced in the mouth can be channeled directly into the esophagus and down to the stomach.

The swallowing act is considered very complex. Different muscles work closely together so that it can run without errors. The process of swallowing is divided into a deliberately controlled and an automatic process. Preparations, such as chopping up food or adding fluids, are part of the deliberately controlled process. They initiate the swallowing act. The absorbed substances are moved deep into the throat. Here, the functionality of the tongue plays an essential role. Once there, the swallowing reflex is initiated automatically.

In this process, the trachea is closed and raised the bottom of the tongue. This pushes food, saliva and fluids deeper into the throat. So that they can then drain, the hyoid bone lowers. At the same time the larynx lowers. The sternothyroid muscle causes activity to lower the hyoid bone and upper cartilage of the larynx. He thus contributes a significant share to a well-functioning swallowing act.


The diseases that affect the activity of the sternothyroid muscle include those whose symptoms have symptoms ranging from the mouth to the larynx. These can be inflammatory diseases, paralysis, swelling, tissue neoplasm and infections.

Inflammation and infections cause problems with the swallowing act. In the case of paralysis or cramping, the swallowing process can no longer be carried out. The swellings include enlargements of the tonsils or the lymph. They close the neck entrance and ensure a narrowing of the esophagus. Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea result in respiratory arrest. It comes to a spontaneous relaxation of the muscles, while the consciousness of man is not active. Neoplasms, such as edema or cysts in the neck to larynx, contribute to narrowing of the canal between the pharynx and the upper larynx.

The formation of a carcinoma significantly affects the activity of the larynx. Accidents or falls that affect the neck have an immense impact on swallowing and phonotonia. Since the larynx is surrounded by a cartilaginous framework, it does not have the necessary protection as soon as the neck is narrowed from the outside. A throat narrowing does not only affect the swallowing act. In addition, the air supply is restricted or suspended.

In case of an emergency or the rescue of a person, it may in some cases come to emergency care by supplying oxygen. For this procedure, a tracheotomy is performed and intubated. Depending on the situation, injuries to the cartilage on the larynx can occur. In medicine in this case is spoken of a trauma. A trauma can also occur when a patient has to be intubated for an extended period of time. In addition, everything is harmful, which attacks the throat and throat area. These include smoking, as well as the inhalation of toxic gases.

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