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.
Boundaries and/or relations
- anterior: posterior cricoarytenoid muscle of larynx
- posterior: lumen of hypopharynx
- superior: level of superior edge of the arytenoid cartilages
- inferior: level of inferior edge of the cricoid cartilage, continuing as esophageal inlet/verge
- lateral: pyriform sinuses
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.
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.
- 1. Schmalfuss IM, Mancuso AA, Tart RP. Postcricoid region and cervical esophagus: normal appearance at CT and MR imaging. (2000) Radiology. 214 (1): 237-46. doi:10.1148/radiology.214.1.r00dc42237 - Pubmed
- 2. Pitman RG. The postcricoid impression on the esophagus. (1992) AJR. American journal of roentgenology. 158 (3): 690-1. doi:10.2214/ajr.158.3.1590850 - Pubmed
- 3. Hoff SR, Koltai PJ. The "postcricoid cushion": observations on the vascular anatomy of the posterior cricoid region. (2012) Archives of otolaryngology--head & neck surgery. 138 (6): 562-71. doi:10.1001/archoto.2012.932 - Pubmed
- 4. Mu L, Sanders I. Sensory nerve supply of the human oro- and laryngopharynx: a preliminary study. (2000) The Anatomical record. 258 (4): 406-20. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1097-0185(20000401)258:4<406::AID-AR9>3.0.CO;2-5 - Pubmed