Pharyngeal plexus of vagus nerve

The pharyngeal plexus is a network of nerve fibers innervating most of the palate and pharynx. (Larynx, which is innervated by superior and recurrent laryngeal nerve from vagus nerve (CN X), is not included)

Pharyngeal plexus of vagus nerves
Muscles of the pharynx, viewed from behind, together with the associated vessels and nerves. (Pharyngeal plexus visible but not labeled.)
Latinplexus pharyngeus nervi vagi
Anatomical terms of neuroanatomy

It is located on the surface of the middle pharyngeal constrictor muscle.[1]


Although the Terminologia Anatomica name of the plexus has "vagus nerve" in the title, other nerves make contributions to the plexus.

It has the following sources:[2]

Because the cranial part of accessory nerve (CN XI) leaves the jugular foramen as joining the CN X, it is sometimes considered part of the plexus as well.[2]



The pharyngeal plexus provides sensory innervation of the oropharynx and laryngopharynx from CN IX and CN X. (The nasopharynx above the pharyngotympanic tube and the torus tubarius is innervated by CN V2).


The pharyngeal plexus, with fibers from CN IX, CN X, and cranial part of CN XI, innervates all the muscles of the pharynx (except stylopharyngeus, which is innervated directly by a branch of CN IX).

This includes the following muscles: palatopharyngeus, palatoglossus, musculus uvulae, the pharyngeal constrictors, salpingopharyngeus plus others.

Note that the intrinsic muscles of the larynx are innervated by the vagus nerve but not by the pharyngeal plexus. Instead, they are innervated by the recurrent laryngeal nerve and the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, branches of the vagus.

See also

Additional images


  1. "pharyngeal plexus (anatomy)". GPnotebook.
  2. Jerry L. Gadd; James L. Oschman; Hiatt, James L.; Leslie P. Gartner; Gartner, Leslie P. (2001). Textbook of head and neck anatomy. Hagerstown, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. p. 229. ISBN 0-7817-2166-0.
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