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Tensor veli palatini muscle
Dissection of the muscles of the palate from behind. (Tens. val. pal. visible at upper right.)
The otic ganglion and its branches. (Tensor veli palatini visible at center left.)
Latin musculus tensor veli palatini
Gray's subject #243 1139
Origin: medial pterygoid plate of the sphenoid bone
Insertion: palatine aponeurosis
Nerve: medial pterygoid of mandibular nerve
Action: tension of the soft palate
Dorlands/Elsevier m_22/12551105

The tensor veli palatini (tensor palati) is a broad, thin, ribbon-like muscle in the head that tenses the soft palate.


The tensor veli palatini it is found lateral to the levator veli palatini muscle.

It arises by a flat lamella from the scaphoid fossa at the base of the medial pterygoid plate, from the spina angularis of the sphenoid and from the lateral wall of the cartilage of the auditory tube.

Descending vertically between the medial pterygoid plate and the medial pterygoid muscle, it ends in a tendon which winds around the pterygoid hamulus, being retained in this situation by some of the fibers of origin of the medial pterygoid muscle.

Between the tendon and the hamulus is a small bursa.

The tendon then passes medialward and is inserted into the palatine aponeurosis and into the surface behind the transverse ridge on the horizontal part of the palatine bone.


The tensor veli palatini is innervated by the mandibular nerve, the third branch of the trigeminal nerve (CN V).


It is associated both with mastication and with the opening of the Eustachian tube through its function of tensing the palate.

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This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

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