Contributions of individual muscles to the submental surface electromyogram during swallowing

J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1999 Dec;42(6):1378-91. doi: 10.1044/jslhr.4206.1378.


Submental surface electromyographic recordings are commonly used in the investigation of swallowing disorders. The measured electromyography is thought to reflect the actions of floor-of-mouth muscles. Although this is a reasonable assumption, to date there have been no investigations to delineate which muscles contribute to this surface recording. The primary goal of this experiment was to determine which muscles contribute most to the submental surface. Electromyography was recorded simultaneously from the submental surface as well as from five individual muscles: mylohyoid, anterior belly of the digastric, geniohyoid, genioglossus and platysma. Three analysis methods were performed to estimate individual muscle contributions: correlation, numeric, and analytic. For the numeric and analytic analyses, a linear model was defined and used to represent the relationship between the surface and intramuscular recordings. Muscles that received a high correlation, numeric and/or analytic value were considered to be primary contributors to the submental recording. Regardless of analysis approach, the primary contributions to the submental surface recording were the mylohyoid, anterior belly of the digastric, and the geniohyoid muscles. Contributions from the genioglossus and the platysma muscles were minimal. Contributions as a function of bolus volume and viscosity are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chin / physiology
  • Deglutition / physiology*
  • Electromyography / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Neck / physiology
  • Neck Muscles / physiology*