Macroscopic Analysis of the Insertion Points of the Lateral Pterygoid Muscle in Adult Individuals

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Nilton Alves; Carlos Torres-Villar; Célio Fernando de Sousa-Rodrigues & Naira Figueiredo Deana


The lateral pterygoid muscle (LPM) is intimately related with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), playing an important role in its physiology. This makes it of interest to researchers who investigate temporomandibular disorders. The literature indicates that anatomical variations exist in the insertion of the superior fascicle of the LPM. Imaging and cadaver studies have revealed that the LPM may present an accessory fascicle. The study object was to carry out macroscopic analysis of the LPM, examining the origin and insertion of its superior and inferior fascicles. The study used 38 half-heads of adult individuals fixed in formaldehyde 10 %. To carry out macroscopic analysis of the LPM, an initial incision was made along the lower margin of the zygomatic arch; the origin of the masseter muscle was then dissected, separating its insertion on the lateral face of the mandibular ramus and retracting the muscle to posteroinferior. Two incisions were made on the zygomatic arch and the insertion of the temporal muscle on the coronoid process was identified with dissection pincers; it was dissected to gain access to the infratemporal fossa and the two fascicles of the LPM. The superior fascicle (SF) originated on the infratemporal face of the greater wing of the sphenoid, and on the superior third of the lateral face of the lateral lamina of the pterygoid process of the sphenoid in 26 samples. In 12 samples, it originated on the greater wing of the sphenoid and the infratemporal crest of the sphenoid. Type I insertion was found in 20 samples, Type II in 6 samples and Type III in 12 samples. In all the samples analysed, the inferior fascicle (IF) originated on the inferior two thirds of the lateral face of the lateral lamina of the pterygoid process and on the lateral face of the pyramidal process of the palatine, with insertion on the pterygoid fovea. The accessory fascicle (AF) of the LPM was present in 6 samples. The AF originated on the greater wing of the sphenoid in 2 cases and inferior to the superior fascicle in 4 cases; its insertion was on the capsular disc complex in all cases. The results obtained in our study contribute anatomical data on the LPM in Brazilian adult individuals, with evaluation of its insertion points.

KEY WORDS: Lateral pterygoid muscle; Anatomical variations; Cadaver.

How to cite this article

ALVES, N.; TORRES-VILLAR, C.; SOUSA-RODRIGUES, C. F. & DEANA, N. F. Macroscopic analysis of the insertion points of the lateral pterygoid muscle in adult individuals. Int. J. Morphol., 40(6):1481-1483, 2022.