Dr Daniel J Bell and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The oropharynx forms part of the pharynx, being the continuation of the oral cavity and nasopharynx superiorly, and the larynx and hypopharynx inferiorly. It also forms part of the upper respiratory tract.

  • anteriorly: vertical plane defined by the circumvallate papillae, anterior tonsillar pillars, and border of hard and soft palate
  • posteriorly: posterior pharyngeal wall
  • superiorly: level of the soft palate free border
  • inferiorly: level of the hyoid bone or tip of epiglottis
  • laterally: tonsillar fossae and pillars

For staging purposes, the lingual (anterior) surface of the epiglottis is excluded and instead classified as part of the larynx, and the nasopharyngeal (superior) surface of the soft palate is excluded and instead classified as part of the nasopharynx.

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 43825
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Oropharyngeal anatomy

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Cases and figures

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