Anatomy & Organs

Musculus levator veli palatini – structure, function & diseases

The levator muscle of the velum palatine

The levator veli palatini muscle plays an important role in the swallowing process. It 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 muscle is located in the human head. It is part of the central nervous system and belongs to the musculature of the palate . The levator veli palatini muscle is a muscle that is considered to be extremely short.

It is a rounded muscle that is part of the skeletal muscles of the head. The musculus levator veli palatini is located in the pharyngeal muscles and ensures the functionality of the soft palate elevator. The levator veli palatini muscle is therefore extremely important in the swallowing process . In particular, it has an important function in closing the connection between the mouth and nose. This closure is regulated by the soft palate elevator and the two upper pharyngeal straps.

The closure ensures that neither food nor liquids are pressed into the nasal cavity when swallowing . The musculus levator veli palatini is mainly responsible for the functional activity of the soft palate elevator. When swallowing, the levator veli palatini muscle contracts. This automatically raises the soft palate at this moment.

Anatomy & Structure

the ninth Cranial nerve is the glossopharyngeal nerve . It innervates organs and muscles that are involved in processes such as taste recognition, circulatory and respiratory regulation and the swallowing process. Together with the X. cranial nerve, the vagus nerve , it supplies the human head and neck region.The vagus nerve is responsible for the supply of the larynx , important parts of the chest cavity and also for the swallowing process. Together, the two cranial nerves innervate the pharyngeal muscles via the pharyngeal plexus . The soft palate belongs to this area. This is controlled by the levator veli palatini muscle. The levator veli palatini muscle is a short muscle. Its course begins at the pars petrosa of the temporal bone .

The temporal bone is called the temporal bone and the pars petrosa is the petrous pyramid. The levator veli palatini muscle pulls from the closure cartilage of the tuba auditiva over the edge of the superior pharyngeal constrictor muscle . From there it continues to the soft palate and from there to the soft palate. The soft palate is called the velum palatinum and is almost interwoven by the levator veli palatini muscle.

Function & Tasks

The main task of the musculus levator veli palatini is to produce the functional activity of the soft palate during the swallowing process. There is an area on the palate called the soft palate. Opening the mouth reveals the soft palate at the end of the throat. Visually, it resembles a double fold or a suppository.

It hangs down in the middle of the pharynx towards the root of the tongue and can move freely. The soft palate ensures that no food or liquids enter the nasal cavity. This clears the way to ensure that the substances that have been absorbed are passed on into the esophagus. This also applies to the outflow of saliva in the mouth in the event that there is no external supply of food or liquids. The soft palate prevents anything from accidentally getting into the trachea . The levator veli palatini muscle tightens at the moment of swallowingon. This tension causes the soft palate to rise. When raised, the soft palate automatically becomes an obstruction and food and liquids are automatically transported into the esophagus .

In addition, the musculus levator veli palatini, together with the musculus tensor veli palatini, supports the opening of the tuba auditiva . This is called the eustachian tube or ear trumpet. It equalizes the pressure between the outer and middle ear . This equalization of pressure is important so that the process of hearing can be carried out. In addition, the soft palate and thus the musculus levator veli palatini have a function in the formation of certain sounds.


Discomfort in the area of ​​the palate can result from the intake of hot drinks or food. In addition to pain, these can also result in burns or scalds. This attacks the sensitive mucous membrane in the throat and palate. There is redness or swelling. Small blisters form in severe burns .Impairments in the functionality of the levator veli palatini muscle mean that the formation of sounds no longer functions adequately. The consonant “r” can no longer be pronounced correctly. When the letter is formed, the soft palate flaps against the back of the tongue. This is omitted and the letter cannot be pronounced correctly. In addition, letter combinations such as the “ch” can no longer be formed if the soft palate were not fully functional.

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

As a congenital malformation, cleft lip and palate can split the soft palate. This can impair the act of swallowing. The malformation is usually corrected in the first few weeks after birth by means of a surgical procedure.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.