Levator labii superioris alaeque nasi

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on January 12, 2015

The levator labii superioris alaeque nasi is a muscle whose primary purpose is to dilate the nostrils and elevate the upper lip. This action enables a 'snarl' facial expression, made famous by Elvis Presley and earning it the nickname 'The Elvis Muscle.'

It’s nerves come from the buccal branch of the facial nerve and this muscle originates from the superior frontal process of the maxilla (upper jaw). It then runs down vertically and divides and inserts in both the skin on the lateral side of the nostril and upper lip.

In Latin, levator labii superioris alaeque nasi means 'lifter of the upper lip and of the wing of the nose.' This is the longest name given to any muscle in the human body. To remember the long name of this muscle, medical professionals adopted the mnemonic 'Little Ladies Snore All Night.' They often also shorten the name to alaeque nasi so that it does not get confused with the levator labii superioris muscle, which lies more lateral.

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