AskDefine | Define nasopharynx

Dictionary Definition

nasopharynx n : cavity forming the upper part of the pharynx [also: nasopharynges (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The nasal part of the pharynx, lying behind the nose and above the level of the soft palate.


nasal part of the pharynx

Extensive Definition

The nasopharynx (nasal part of the pharynx) lies behind the nose and above the level of the soft palate: it differs from the oral and laryngeal parts of the pharynx in that its cavity always remains patent (open).


In front it communicates through the choanae with the nasal cavities.


On its lateral wall is the pharyngeal ostium of the auditory tube, somewhat triangular in shape, and bounded behind by a firm prominence, the torus tubarius or cushion, caused by the medial end of the cartilage of the tube which elevates the mucous membrane.
Two folds arise from the cartilaginous opening:
Behind the ostium of the auditory tube is a deep recess, the pharyngeal recess (fossa of Rosenmüller).


On the posterior wall is a prominence, best marked in childhood, produced by a mass of lymphoid tissue, which is known as the pharyngeal tonsil.
Above the pharyngeal tonsil, in the middle line, an irregular flask-shaped depression of the mucous membrane sometimes extends up as far as the basilar process of the occipital bone; it is known as the pharyngeal bursa.

Additional images

Image:Illu nose nasal cavities.jpg|Nose and nasal cavities

See also

External links

nasopharynx in Arabic: بلعوم أنفي
nasopharynx in German: Nasopharynx
nasopharynx in Dhivehi: ނޭފަތާގުޅޭ އަރުތެރެ
nasopharynx in Dutch: Nasofarynx
nasopharynx in Japanese: 咽頭鼻部
nasopharynx in Ukrainian: Носоглотка
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