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The human throat
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X-ray showing the throat, seen as a dark band to the front of the spine
Latin gula
FMA 228738
Anatomical terminology

In vertebrate anatomy, the throat is the front part of the neck, internally positioned in front of the vertebrae. It contains the pharynx and larynx. An important section of it is the epiglottis, separating the esophagus from the trachea (windpipe), preventing food and drinks being inhaled into the lungs. The throat contains various blood vessels, pharyngeal muscles, the nasopharyngeal tonsil, the tonsils, the palatine uvula, the trachea, the esophagus, and the vocal cords. [1] [2] Mammal throats consist of two bones, the hyoid bone and the clavicle. The "throat" is sometimes thought to be synonymous for the fauces. [3]

It works with the mouth, ears and nose, as well as a number of other parts of the body. Its pharynx is connected to the mouth, allowing speech to occur, and food and liquid to pass down the throat. It is joined to the nose by the nasopharynx at the top of the throat, and to the ear by its Eustachian tube. [4] The throat's trachea carries inhaled air to the bronchi of the lungs. The esophagus carries food through the throat to the stomach. [5] Adenoids and tonsils help prevent infection and are composed of lymph tissue. The larynx contains vocal cords, the epiglottis (preventing food/liquid inhalation), and an area known as the subglottic larynx, in children it is the narrowest section of the upper part of the throat. [6] [7]

The Jugulum is a low part of the throat, located slightly above the breast. [8] The term Jugulum is reflected both by the internal and external jugular veins, which pass through the Jugulum.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Larynx</span> Voice box, an organ in the neck of amphibians, reptiles, and mammals

The larynx, commonly called the voice box, is an organ in the top of the neck involved in breathing, producing sound and protecting the trachea against food aspiration. The opening of larynx into pharynx known as the laryngeal inlet is about 4–5 centimeters in diameter. The larynx houses the vocal cords, and manipulates pitch and volume, which is essential for phonation. It is situated just below where the tract of the pharynx splits into the trachea and the esophagus. The word ʻlarynxʼ comes from the Ancient Greek word lárunx ʻlarynx, gullet, throat.ʼ

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Trachea</span> Cartilaginous tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs

The trachea, also known as the windpipe, is a cartilaginous tube that connects the larynx to the bronchi of the lungs, allowing the passage of air, and so is present in almost all animals with lungs. The trachea extends from the larynx and branches into the two primary bronchi. At the top of the trachea the cricoid cartilage attaches it to the larynx. The trachea is formed by a number of horseshoe-shaped rings, joined together vertically by overlying ligaments, and by the trachealis muscle at their ends. The epiglottis closes the opening to the larynx during swallowing.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uvula</span> Fleshy appendage that hangs from the back of the palate

The uvula, also known as the palatine uvula, is a conic projection from the back edge of the middle of the soft palate, composed of connective tissue containing a number of racemose glands, and some muscular fibers. It also contains many serous glands, which produce thin saliva. It is only found in human beings.

Swallowing, sometimes called deglutition in scientific contexts, is the process in the human or animal body that allows for a substance to pass from the mouth, to the pharynx, and into the esophagus, while shutting the epiglottis. Swallowing is an important part of eating and drinking. If the process fails and the material goes through the trachea, then choking or pulmonary aspiration can occur. In the human body the automatic temporary closing of the epiglottis is controlled by the swallowing reflex.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Glossopharyngeal nerve</span> Cranial nerve IX, for the tongue and pharynx

The glossopharyngeal nerve, also known as the ninth cranial nerve, cranial nerve IX, or simply CN IX, is a cranial nerve that exits the brainstem from the sides of the upper medulla, just anterior to the vagus nerve. Being a mixed nerve (sensorimotor), it carries afferent sensory and efferent motor information. The motor division of the glossopharyngeal nerve is derived from the basal plate of the embryonic medulla oblongata, whereas the sensory division originates from the cranial neural crest.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Respiratory tract</span> Organs involved in transmission of air to and from the point where gases diffuse into tissue

The respiratory tract is the subdivision of the respiratory system involved with the process of respiration in mammals. The respiratory tract is lined with respiratory epithelium as respiratory mucosa.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Epiglottis</span> Leaf-shaped flap in the throat that prevents food from entering the windpipe and the lungs

The epiglottis is a leaf-shaped flap in the throat that prevents food and water from entering the trachea and the lungs. It stays open during breathing, allowing air into the larynx. During swallowing, it closes to prevent aspiration of food into the lungs, forcing the swallowed liquids or food to go along the esophagus toward the stomach instead. It is thus the valve that diverts passage to either the trachea or the esophagus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Recurrent laryngeal nerve</span> Nerve in the human body

The recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) is a branch of the vagus nerve that supplies all the intrinsic muscles of the larynx, with the exception of the cricothyroid muscles. There are two recurrent laryngeal nerves, right and left. The right and left nerves are not symmetrical, with the left nerve looping under the aortic arch, and the right nerve looping under the right subclavian artery then traveling upwards. They both travel alongside the trachea. Additionally, the nerves are among the few nerves that follow a recurrent course, moving in the opposite direction to the nerve they branch from, a fact from which they gain their name.

The cough reflex occurs when stimulation of cough receptors in the respiratory tract by dust or other foreign particles produces a cough, which causes rapidly moving air which usually remove the foreign material before it reaches the lungs. This typically clears particles from the bronchi and trachea, the tubes that feed air to lung tissue from the nose and mouth. The larynx and carina are especially sensitive. Cough receptors in the surface cells (epithelium) of the respiratory tract are also sensitive to chemicals. Terminal bronchioles and even the alveoli are sensitive to chemicals such as sulfur dioxide gas or chlorine gas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Keratosis pharyngis</span> Medical condition

Keratosis Pharyngis is a medical condition where keratin grows on the surface of the pharynx, that is the part of the throat at the back of the mouth. Keratin is a protein that normally occurs as the main component of hair and nails. It is characterized by the presence of whitish-yellow dots on the pharyngeal wall, tonsils or lingual tonsils. They are firmly adherent and cannot be wiped off. The surrounding region does not show any sign or inflammation or any other symptoms that make affect the rest of the body.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Head and neck anatomy</span>

This article describes the anatomy of the head and neck of the human body, including the brain, bones, muscles, blood vessels, nerves, glands, nose, mouth, teeth, tongue, and throat.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pretracheal fascia</span>

The pretracheal fascia is a layer of the deep cervical fascia at the front of the neck. It attaches to the hyoid bone above, and - extending down into the thorax - blends with the fibrous pericardium below. It encloses the thyroid gland and parathyroid glands, trachea, and esophagus. It extends medially in front of the carotid vessels. It assists in forming the carotid sheath.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Respiratory system of the horse</span> Biological system by which a horse circulates air for the purpose of gaseous exchange

The respiratory system of the horse is the biological system by which a horse circulates air for the purpose of gaseous exchange.

The Frenzel Maneuver is named after Hermann Frenzel. The maneuver was developed in 1938 and originally was taught to dive bomber pilots during World War II. The maneuver is used to equalize pressure in the middle ear. Today, the maneuver is also performed by scuba divers, free divers and by passengers on aircraft as they descend.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pharynx</span> Part of the throat that is behind the mouth and nasal cavity

The pharynx is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity, and above the esophagus and trachea. It is found in vertebrates and invertebrates, though its structure varies across species. The pharynx carries food and air to the esophagus and larynx respectively. The flap of cartilage called the epiglottis stops food from entering the larynx.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Human digestive system</span> Digestive system in humans

The human digestive system consists of the gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion. Digestion involves the breakdown of food into smaller and smaller components, until they can be absorbed and assimilated into the body. The process of digestion has three stages: the cephalic phase, the gastric phase, and the intestinal phase.

Flexible Endoscopic Evaluation of Swallowing with Sensory Testing (FEESST), or laryngopharyngeal sensory testing, is a technique used to directly examine motor and sensory functions of swallowing so that proper treatment can be given to patients with swallowing difficulties to decrease their risk of aspiration and choking. FEESST was invented by Dr. Jonathan E. Aviv MD, FACS in 1993, and has been used by otolaryngologists, pulmonologists, gastroenterologists, intensivists and speech-language pathologists for the past 20 years.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pharyngeal aspiration</span>

Pharyngeal aspiration is the introduction of a substance into the pharynx and its subsequent aspiration into the lungs. It is used to test the respiratory toxicity of a substance in animal testing. It began to be used in the late 1990s. Pharyngeal aspiration is widely used to study the toxicity of a wide variety of substances, including nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes.

Oral skills are speech enhancers that are used to produce clear sentences that are intelligible to an audience. Oral skills are used to enhance the clarity of speech for effective communication. Communication is the transmission of messages and the correct interpretation of information between people. The production speech is insisted by the respiration of air from the lungs that initiates the vibrations in the vocal cords. The cartilages in the larynx adjust the shape, position and tension of the vocal cords. Speech enhancers are used to improve the clarity and pronunciation of speech for correct interpretation of speech. The articulation of voice enhances the resonance of speech and enables people to speak intelligibly. Speaking at a moderate pace and using clear pronunciation improves the phonation of sounds. The term "phonation" means the process to produce intelligible sounds for the correct interpretation of speech. Speaking in a moderate tone enables the audience to process the information word for word.


  1. "pharynx | Definition, Location, Function, Structure, & Facts". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  2. "Larynx | anatomy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  3. " throat " at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  4. "eustachian tube | Definition, Anatomy, & Function". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  5. "Esophagus | anatomy". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 2020-09-01.
  6. "Throat anatomy and physiology". Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. 5 May 2014. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  7. "Laryngeal Stenosis: Background, Problem, Epidemiology". 2020-02-19.{{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. Farlex dictionary, citing: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

See also