What is Pharynx?

Pharynx meaning The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The pharynx is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. The pharynx is divided into three regions: the nasopharynx, the oropharynx, and the hypopharynx (laryngopharynx). The pharynx serves as a passageway for the respiratory and digestive tracts, since air must pass through this structure before reaching the lungs, and food must pass through it to get to the stomach. The pharynx is also important for phonation because by changing its shape the different vowel sounds are formed. The pharynx is made up of muscle which is lined with mucous membrane. Embedded within this muscle are the palatine and pharyngeal tonsils. The lymphatics for the pharynx drain into the cervical lymph nodes, namely, the internal jugular (upper and lower deep cervical), and retropharyngeal lymph nodes. The blood supply is via the external carotid arteries and internal jugular veins.


reference: national Cancer Institute – Glossary for Registrars

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