Pyriform sinus

Last revised by Daniel J Bell on 6 Apr 2021

The pyriform sinus (also spelled piriform sinus and also known as the pyriform recesspyriform fossa, and smuggler's fossa) is the pear-shaped subsite of the hypopharynx located posterolaterally to either side of the laryngeal opening.

The structure is a depression bounded

Beneath the mucous membrane of the anterior wall runs the internal laryngeal nerve, a branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.

The term is derived from the Latin term 'pirum' meaning a 'pear' and '-form', meaning having the form of a pear.

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: normal barium swallow - lateral
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  • Case 2: normal barium swallow - AP
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  • Case 3: pyriform sinus squamous cell carcinoma
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