It is a canal that connects the throat to the esophagus . Musculo-mucous structure, it represents both the first part of the digestive tract – in fact it receives the food bolus from the mouth by swallowing – and a part of the upper airways: the air coming from the nose and from the pharynx is introduced into the pharynx it enters the larynx . In the pharynx, therefore, both the alimentary and the airways converge, which then continue – respectively – into the esophagus and larynx.
What is the pharynx?
This channel, 15 cm long. approximately , it runs posteriorly to the nasal cavities, mouth and larynx and develops vertically from the cranial base to the sixth cervical vertebra. Its shape basically resembles that of a funnel : wider at the top, it narrows as you descend, gradually acquiring a tubular appearance.
It is usually divided into three sections : the posterior portion of the nasal airways (nasopharynx), the cd. throat (oropharynx) and the laryngeal part (laryngopharynx). The nasopharynx and the oropharynx are separated from each other by a specific portion of the palate: the soft palate (which represents the extension of the hard one). The nasal cavities communicate with the pharynx by means of the coane , the mouth by the isthmus of the jaws(i.e. the narrow opening that constitutes the transition from the oral cavity to the pharyngeal cavity, delimited in the upper part by the free margin of the soft palate, by two pairs of folds of the mucosa – on the sides – and from the base of the tongue) and the larynx by means of the ‘ laryngeal orifice . All these communications occur at the front wall of the organ, which is therefore largely incomplete.
What is the pharynx for?
Its main functions are essentially two:
As the first part of the digestive tract, it connects the mouth with the esophagus , allowing the passage of the food bolus by swallowing.As part of the upper airways, it allows the passage of air from the nasal cavities to the larynx.