Fossa of Rosenmüller

Dr Craig Hacking and A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

The fossa of Rosenmüller, also known as the posterolateral or pharyngeal recess, is the most common site of origin for nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

It is located superior and posterior to the torus tubarius (the posterior projection of the cartilaginous portion of the Eustachian tube), and is formed by mucosal reflection over the longus colli muscle 2. The fossa of Rosenmüller appears posterior and superior to the ostium of the Eustachian tube on axial and coronal images respectively 3.

The pharyngeal recesses may be asymmetrical and contain fluid.

Named after Johann Christian Rosenmüller, a German anatomist.

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 1353
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Fossa of Rosenmuller
  • Pharyngeal recess
  • Lateral pharyngeal recess
  • Lateral nasopharyngeal recess

Cases and figures

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    Case 1: normal fossa of Rosenmuller
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    Case 2: nasopharyngeal carcinoma
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