The pharynx is a muscular tube that functions to interconnect the main cavities of the head and neck including the oral and nasal cavities, larynx and esophagus. It is divided into three distinct parts:
The oropharynx, or the oral part of the pharynx, spreads from the soft palate to the upper margin of the epiglottis and has four walls (anterior, two lateral and posterior). Its anterior wall is defined by the pharyngeal aspect of the tongue. When the base of the tongue is depressed (e.g., during clinical examination) the anterior wall is visible through the opening called the oropharyngeal isthmus. This opening is bordered by the palatoglossal arch.
The lateral walls of the oropharynx are marked by the palatopharyngeal arches and palatine tonsils. The posterior wall of the oropharynx extends from the body of the second to the upper part of the third cervical vertebrae (C2-C3).
Latin: Pars oralis pharyngis
Latin synonym: Oropharynx
|C2-C3; between nasopharynx and laryngopharynx
|Transfers content (food, fluids, saliva, air) from the mouth.
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