Description

The cavity of the pharynx is about 12.5 cm. long, and broader in the transverse than in the antero-posterior diameter.

Its greatest breadth is immediately below the base of the skull, where it projects on either side, behind the pharyngeal ostium of the auditory tube, as the pharyngeal recess (fossa of Rosenmüller); its narrowest point is at its termination in the esophagus.

It is limited, above, by the body of the sphenoid and basilar part of the occipital bone; below, it is continuous with the esophagus; posteriorly, it is connected by loose areolar tissue with the cervical portion of the vertebral column, and the prevertebral fascia covering the Longus colli and Longus capitis muscles; anteriorly, it is incomplete, and is attached in succession to the medial pterygoid plate, pterygomandibular raphé, mandible, tongue, hyoid bone, and thyroid and cricoid cartilages; laterally, it is connected to the styloid processes and their muscles, and is in contact with the common and internal carotid arteries, the internal jugular veins, the glossopharyngeal, vagus, and hypoglossal nerves, and the sympathetic trunks, and above with small parts of the Pterygoidei interni.

Seven cavities communicate with it, viz., the two nasal cavities, the two tympanic cavities, the mouth, the larynx, and the esophagus.

The cavity of the pharynx may be subdivided from above downward into three parts: nasal, oral, and laryngeal


This definition incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy (20th U.S. edition of Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, published in 1918 – from http://www.bartleby.com/107/).

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