Fossa of Rosenmüller

Last revised by Dr Patrick J Rock on 28 Sep 2020

The fossa of Rosenmüller, also known as the posterolateral 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 (1771-1820), a German anatomist.

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Cases and figures

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