Name = PAGENAME
GraySubject = 244 | GrayPage = 1141 |
| Caption = Head and neck.
Caption2 = Pharynx
Artery = pharyngeal branches of ascending pharyngeal artery, ascending palatine, descending palatine, pharyngeal branches of inferior thyroid
MeshName = Pharynx
MeshNumber = A03.556.750
DorlandsPre = p_16
DorlandsSuf = 12633198
The pharynx (plural: "pharynges") is the part of the
neckand throatsituated immediately posteriorto (behind) the mouthand nasal cavity, and cranial, or superior, to the oesophagus, larynx, and trachea.
It was part of the
digestive systemand respiratory systemof many organisms.
foodand air pass through the pharynx, a flap of connective tissue called the epiglottiscloses over the trachea when food is swallowed to prevent chokingor aspiration. In humansthe pharynx is important in vocalization.
In persons with
hayfever, oral allergy syndromeand related allergies, the pharynx is often a reaction site to allergens, with common symptoms including burning and itching.
The human pharynx is conventionally divided into three sections:
oropharynxlies behind the oral cavity. The anterior wall consists of the base of the tongue and the vallecula; the lateral wall is made up of the tonsil, tonsillar fossa, and tonsillar (faucial) pillars; the superior wall consists of the inferior surface of the soft palate and the uvula.
nasopharynxlies behind the nasal cavity.
Postero-superiorly this extends from the level of the junction of the hard and soft palates to the base of skull, laterally to include the
fossa of Rosenmuller.
The inferior wall consists of the superior surface of the soft palate.
laryngopharynx, also known as the hypopharynx, roughly corresponds to the levels between C4 to C6, it includes the pharyngo-esophageal junction (postcricoid area), the piriform sinus, and the posterior pharyngeal wall.
Like the oropharynx above it the hypopharynx serves as a passageway for food and air and is lined with a
stratified squamous epithelium.
It lies inferior to the upright epiglottis and extends to the larynx, where the respiratory and digestive pathways diverge.
At that point, the laryngopharynx is continuous with the esophagus posteriorly. The esophagus conducts food and fluids to the
stomach; air enters the larynx anteriorly. During swallowing, food has the "right of way", and air passage temporarily stops.
* "Human Anatomy and Physiology" Elaine N. Marieb and Katja Hoehn, Seventh Edition.
* "TNM Classification of Malignant Tumours" Sobin LH & Wittekind Ch (eds)Sixth edition UICC 2002 ISBN 0-471-22288-7
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