nasopharynx n : cavity forming the upper part of the pharynx [also: nasopharynges (pl)]
nasal part of the pharynx
- Czech: nosohltan
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).
LateralOn 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:
- vertical fold of mucous membrane, the salpingopharyngeal fold, stretches from the lower part of the torus; it contains the Salpingopharyngeus muscle.
- second and smaller fold, the salpingopalatine fold, stretches from the upper part of the torus to the palate; it contains the levator veli palatini muscle. The tensor veli palatini is lateral to the levator and does not contribute the fold, since the origin is deep to the cartilaginous opening.
Behind the ostium of the auditory tube is a deep recess, the pharyngeal recess (fossa of Rosenmüller).
PosteriorOn 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.
Image:Illu nose nasal cavities.jpg|Nose and nasal cavities