The laryngopharynx is the third and distalmost part of the pharynx, after the nasopharynx and oropharynx. Proximally it originates as a continuation of the oropharynx at the upper border of the epiglottis and extends down to the lower border of the cricoid cartilage, at the level of the sixth cervical vertebra, where it becomes continuous with the esophagus.
It functions as a passageway for both food/water and air and is lined with stratified squamous epithelium.
The anterior wall of the laryngopharynx is incomplete. In the upper part there is the laryngeal inlet (aditus), which is the opening into the larynx that is situated anterior to the laryngopharynx, separating the pathways for digestion and respiration. Either side of the inlet lie the piriform recesses, which direct food and water coming down around the laryngeal inlet and into the esophagus. The lower part of the anterior wall is formed by the posterior wall of the larynx, namely the posterior surfaces of the arytenoid and cricoid cartilages. The majority of the posterior wall is made by the three pharyngeal constrictors.
Latin: Pars laryngea pharyngis
|C3-C6; between the upper border of the epiglottis and lower border of the cricoid cartilage.
|Passageway for food/water and air.
Learn more about the pharynx with this study unit:
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