Head and neck anatomy

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 26 Aug 2022

Head and neck anatomy is important when considering pathology affecting the same area. In radiology, the 'head and neck' refers to all the anatomical structures in this region excluding the central nervous system, that is, the brain and spinal cord and their associated vascular structures and encasing membranes i.e. the meninges. Many pathologies are confined to a particular area of the head and neck, making separating this section of the human body exceptionally useful.

This anatomy section promotes the use of the Terminologia Anatomica, the international standard of anatomical nomenclature. 

The deep anatomy is separated by fascial planes into seven deep compartments of the head and neck:

Many of the disease states that affect the deep structures of the head and neck are confined to one compartment. However, some diseases are considered trans-spatial diseases.

There are several triangles of the neck that are more surgically focussed, first described from early dissection-based anatomical studies which predated cross-sectional anatomical description based on imaging:

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