Temporal styloid process

The temporal styloid process is a process of bone that extends down from the temporal bone of the human skull, just below the ear.

Styloid process (temporal)
Right side of the skull. Styloid process shown in red
Right temporal bone and mandible (styloid process labeled at bottom)
LatinProcessus styloideus ossis temporalis
Anatomical terms of bone


The styloid process is a slender pointed piece of bone just below the ear. It projects down and forward from the inferior surface of the temporal bone, and serves as an anchor point for several muscles associated with the tongue and larynx.

The stylohyoid ligament extends from the apex of the process to the lesser cornu of the hyoid bone, and can sometimes be partially or completely ossified.

A small percentage of the population will suffer from an elongation of the styloid process and stylohyoid ligament calcification. This condition is also known as Eagle syndrome. The tissues in the throat rub on the styloid process during the act of swallowing with resulting pain along the glossopharyngeal nerve. There is also pain upon turning the head or extending the tongue. Other symptoms may include voice alteration, cough, dizziness, migraines, occipital neuralgia, pain in teeth and jaw and sinusitis or bloodshot eyes.


The styloid process arises from endochondral ossification of the cartilage from the second pharyngeal arch.

Additional images


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 145 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

  • Anatomy photo:22:os-0407 at the SUNY Downstate Medical Center
  • "Anatomy diagram: 25420.000-1". Roche Lexicon - illustrated navigator. Elsevier. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01.
  • "Anatomy diagram: 34257.000-1". Roche Lexicon - illustrated navigator. Elsevier. Archived from the original on 2014-01-01.

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