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Illu pharynx.jpg
Front of nasal part of pharynx, as seen with the laryngoscope.
Latin Nasopharynx, pars nasalis pharyngis
Gray's p.1141
Nerve maxillary nerve (pharyngeal nerve)
MeSH Nasopharynx
Illustration of Upper Respiratory System

The nasopharynx (nasal part of the pharynx) is the uppermost part of the pharynx. It extends from the base of the skull to the upper surface of the soft palate;[1] it differs from the oral and laryngeal parts of the pharynx in that its cavity always remains patent (open).


In front it communicates through the choanae with the nasal cavities.


On its lateral wall is the pharyngeal ostium of the Eustachian tube, somewhat triangular in shape, and bounded behind by a firm prominence, the torus tubarius or cushion, caused by the medial end of the cartilage of the tube which elevates the mucous membrane.

Two folds arise from the cartilaginous opening:

Behind the ostium of the Eustachian tube is a deep recess, the pharyngeal recess (fossa of Rosenmüller).


On the posterior wall is a prominence, best marked in childhood, produced by a mass of lymphoid tissue, which is known as the pharyngeal tonsil.

Above the pharyngeal tonsil, in the middle line, an irregular flask-shaped depression of the mucous membrane sometimes extends up as far as the basilar process of the occipital bone; it is known as the pharyngeal bursa.

Additional images[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Clinical Head and Neck and Functional Neuroscience Course Notes, 2008-2009, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences School of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland

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This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.