Jump to navigation Jump to search

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

A sphincter is a structure, usually a circular muscle, that normally maintains constriction of a natural body passage or orifice and which relaxes as required by normal physiological functioning. There are over 40 different sphincters in the human body; some of these sphincters are microscopic in size.

Many sphincters are used every day in the normal course of digestion. For example, the epiglottis is used to seal off the windpipe when swallowing, so as to ensure that no food or liquid enters the lungs. The use of the epiglottis is a typical example of an involuntary action by the body.

Examples of sphincters

Sphincters prove effective in the mediation of the entrance or release of liquids and fluids; this is evident in the blowholes of numerous marine mammals, for example.

Sphincter Video

ca:Esfínter de:Schließmuskel it:Sfintere ku:Miçînik nl:Sluitspier

Template:Jb1 Template:WH Template:WS