Sagittal view of the head and neck demonstrating pharynx anatomy

The pharynx is a tube-like structure that connects the mouth and nose to the esophagus. It is mainly responsible for carrying air from the nose and food from the mouth to the trachea and esophagus, respectively.

The pharynx can be divided into three parts:

  • The nasopharynx is the cavity behind the nose and above the soft palate. It is lined with ciliated epithelium, which is important for keeping foreign particles out of the respiratory tract. The pharyngeal tonsils are located in this area.
  • The oropharynx is located posterior to the mouth and below the soft palate. It contains the palatine tonsils and lingual tonsils.
  • The laryngopharynx is the lowest part of the pharynx, located below the oropharynx and above the larynx. The laryngopharynx marks the point where the food and airway passages divide into the larynx anteriorly and the esophagus posteriorly.

Learn the anatomy of the pharynx with our interactive tutorials and labeled diagrams below.