Nasopharynx

Dr Derek Smith and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The nasopharynx forms the superior-most part of the pharynx, in continuity with the inferior oropharynx, and the posterior continuation of the anterior nasal cavity.

  • anteriorly: posterior nares and posterior margin of nasal septum 1,2
  • inferiorly: soft palate 2
  • superiorly: basisphenoid and basiocciput 1,2
    • roof of the nasopharynx is called the vault (or fornix) of the pharynx, where the mucosa firmly attaches to the sphenoid and pharyngobasilar fascia
  • posteriorly: C1 and C2 1
  • laterally
    • the pharyngeal opening of the Eustachian tube is located in the center of the lateral wall 1,2
    • lymphoid tissue aggregates, also known as the tubal tonsil occur around the opening of the Eustachian tube 1,3
    • the fossa of Rosenmüller lies between the posterior margin of the Eustachian tube and the posterior wall of the nasopharynx 1,2

Lymphatic drainage in the nasopharynx occurs laterally and medially:

  • lateral drainage pathway: lymph vessels traverse the superior constrictor muscle and drain into the lateral retropharyngeal, deep cervical and posterior triangle lymph nodes 4
  • medial drainage pathway: lymph vessels from the roof and posterior wall drain into the median retropharyngeal lymph nodes 4
Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

rID: 45307
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Nasopharynges

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