Outer wing muscle

Latin: Musculus pterygoideus lateralis English: lateral pterygoid muscle Synergists: mainly the suprahyal muscles: Musculus geniohyoideus, Musculus digastricus, Musculus mylohyoideus, Musculus stylohyoideus Antagonists: Musculus masseter, Musculus temporalis, Musculus pterygoideus medialis


The outer wing muscle is the only jaw opener. In addition, it pushes the lower jaw in the opposite direction during unilateral contraction, which results in a grinding movement.


Base: Lower jaw bone (condylar process) and the temporomandibular joint (joint capsule in the articular disc) Origin: Sphenoid bone (ala major; pterygoid process) Innervation: lateral pterygoid nerve of the mandibular nerve


The outer wing muscle has two muscle heads which together open the jaw. Here, the lower muscle belly pulls the lower jaw head forward from its resting position. The upper head then guides the joint cartilage (discus articularis) and thus supports the movement. Furthermore, the muscle can be moved to the opposite side in case of unilateral contraction. This causes a grinding of the food.

Common illnesses

The outer wing muscle plays a role in diseases and malpositions of the temporomandibular joint such as craniomandibular dysfunction. You can also find further complaints of the temporomandibular joint here.