Stylohyoid muscle

The stylohyoid muscle is a slender muscle, lying anterior and superior of the posterior belly of the digastric muscle. It shares this muscle's innervation by the facial nerve, and functions to draw the hyoid bone backwards and elevate the tongue. Its origin is the styloid process of the temporal bone. It inserts on the body of the hyoid .

The stylohyoid among the triangles of the neck.
Muscles of the neck. Anterior view. Stylohyoid muscle in purple
Originstyloid process (temporal)
InsertionGreater cornu of hyoid bone
Nervefacial nerve (CN VII)
ActionsElevate the hyoid during swallowing
Latinmusculus stylohyoideus
Anatomical terms of muscle


It arises from the posterior and lateral surface of the styloid process of the temporal bone, near the base; and, passing inferior and anterior, it is inserted into the body of the hyoid bone, at its junction with the greater cornu, and just superior the omohyoid muscle. It thus belongs to the group of suprahyoid muscles.

When contracted, it elevates the hyoid, this action is primarily brought about during swallowing.

It is perforated, near its insertion, by the intermediate tendon of the digastric muscle.

Nerve supply

A branch of the facial nerve (CN VII) innervates the stylohyoid muscle.


It may be absent or doubled, lie beneath the carotid artery, or be inserted into the omohyoid, or mylohyoid muscles.


The stylohyoid muscle elevates and retracts hyoid bone. It initiates a swallowing action by pulling the hyoid bone in a posterior and superior direction.

Additional images

See also


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 392 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

    Anatomy figure: 34:02-04 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center

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