Pharynx – description, divisions, muscles, syntopy, vascular supply, innervation

From WikiLectures

The pharynx is the transitional space between the oral cavity and the respiratory and digestive systems. The pharynx is lined by stratified, non-keratinised squamous epithelium. It is divided into three sections: nasophaynx, oropharynx and laryngopharynx.

Nasopharynx[edit | edit source]

  • Base to C2
  • Respiratory function
  • Superior to the soft palate; posterior expansion of the nasal cavity

Oropharynx[edit | edit source]

  • C2 to C4
  • Digestive function
  • Superior to the soft palate; inferior to the tongue
  • Lateral to it are the palatoglossal and palatopharyngeal arches

Laryngopharynx[edit | edit source]

  • C4 to C6
  • Superior border is epiglottis
  • Inferior border is cricoid cartilage

Blood Supply[edit | edit source]

Arteries[edit | edit source]

  • Ascending pharyngeal artery , external carotid artery medial group
  • Ascending palatine artery , from facial artery of external carotid artery
  • Tonsillar artery ,
  • Maxillary artery
  • Lingual artery

Veins[edit | edit source]

  • Pterygoid venous plexus
  • Facial vein
  • Internal Jugular Vein

Innervation[edit | edit source]

  • Motor and most sensory innervation is done by glossopharyngeal nerve

Muscular Innervation

  • Stylopharyngeus - glossopharyngeal nerve
  • All other muscles of the pharynx - pharyngeal plexus


  • Nasopharynx - pharyngeal branch of the maxillary nerve
  • Oropharynx - glossopharyngeal nerve
  • Laryngopharynx - vagus nerve

Swallowing Reflex[edit | edit source]

  • It is the voluntary initiation of swallowing
  1. Reflex closure of the airway
  2. Reflex transport of food bolus down the oesophagus; through the pharynx

Links[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

SNELL, Richard S. Clinical Anatomy by Regions. 8th Edition edition. 2004. ISBN 978-0-7817-6404-9.