Postcricoid region

The postcricoid region is a subsite of the hypopharynx, comprising the anterior wall. The area includes the mucosa, intramural fat, and a rich venous plexus 1-3.

A rich venous plexus in this region drains into superior laryngeal veins. It is more prominent in infants and engorges during crying, known as the "postcricoid cushion" on laryngoscopy, perhaps as protection against emesis 3.

The sensory supply is the internal laryngeal nerve, a branch of the superior laryngeal nerve 4.

Fluoroscopic swallow studies often demonstrate a ridge of tissue or plication in the postcricoid region, described as a "postcricoid impression", corresponding to the prominent venous plexus 2.

The vast majority of normal postcricoid regions demonstrate intramural fat planes, more prominent on the left, which can be obliterated by disease such as tumor infiltration 1.

Intramural fat planes are also normally demonstrated 1.

Share article

Article information

rID: 69055
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Post-cricoid area
  • Postcricoid area
  • Post-cricoid region

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  • Case 1: post cricoid carcinoma
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.