Last updated
Throat Diagram.png
The human throat.
Medical X-Ray imaging EJE04 nevit.jpg
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, positioned in front of the vertebra. 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.[ citation needed ] Mammal throats consist of two bones, the hyoid bone and the clavicle. The "throat" is sometimes thought to be synonymous for the fauces. [1]


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 ear by its Eustachian tube.[ citation needed ] The throat's trachea carries inhaled air to the bronchi of the lungs. The esophagus carries food through the throat to the stomach.[ citation needed ] 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—the narrowest section of the upper part of the throat. [2] [ citation needed ]


The Jugulum is a low part of the throat, located slightly above the breast. [3] The term Jugulum is reflected both by the internal and external jugular veins, which pass through the Jugulum.

Related Research Articles

Place of articulation Place in the mouth consonants are articulated

In articulatory phonetics, the place of articulation of a consonant is the point of contact where an obstruction occurs in the vocal tract between an articulatory gesture, an active articulator, and a passive location. Along with the manner of articulation and the phonation, it gives the consonant its distinctive sound.

Larynx 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 larynx houses the vocal folds, 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 larynx comes from a similar Ancient Greek word.

Trachea Cartilaginous tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs

The trachea, colloquially called 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 air-breathing 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 ligaments over their substance and by the trachealis muscle at their ends. The epiglottis closes the opening to the larynx during swallowing.

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.

Respiratory tract Organs involved in transmission of air to and from the point where gases diffuse into tissue

In humans, the respiratory tract is the part of the anatomy of the respiratory system involved with the process of respiration. The respiratory tract is lined with respiratory mucosa or respiratory epithelium. Air is breathed in through the nose or the mouth. In the nasal cavity, a layer of nasal mucosa acts as a filter and traps pollutants and other harmful substances found in the air. Next, air moves into the pharynx, a passage that contains the intersection between the oesophagus and the larynx. The opening of the larynx has a special flap of cartilage, the epiglottis, that opens to allow air to pass through but closes to prevent food from moving into the airway.

Epiglottis 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 from entering the windpipe and the lungs. It stands 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.

Laryngospasm is an uncontrolled or involuntary muscular contraction (spasm) of the vocal folds. The condition typically lasts less than 60 seconds, but in some cases can last 20–30 minutes and causes a partial blocking of breathing in, while breathing out remains easier. It may be triggered when the vocal cords or the area of the trachea below the vocal folds detects the entry of water, mucus, blood, or other substance. It is characterized by stridor and/or retractions. Some people suffer from frequent laryngospasms, whether awake or asleep. In an ear, nose, and throat practice, it is typically seen in people who have silent reflux disease. It is also a well known, infrequent, but serious perioperative complication.

This is a shortened version of the tenth chapter of the ICD-10: Diseases of the respiratory system. It covers ICD codes J00 to J99. All versions of the ICD-10, including the most recent one (2019), can be browsed freely on the website of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The ICD-10 can also be downloaded in PDF-form.

The cough reflex has both sensory (afferent) mainly via the vagus nerve and motor (efferent) components. Pulmonary irritant receptors in the epithelium of the respiratory tract are sensitive to both mechanical and chemical stimuli. The bronchi and trachea are so sensitive to light touch that slight amounts of foreign matter or other causes of irritation initiate the cough reflex. The larynx and carina are especially sensitive. Terminal bronchioles and even the alveoli are sensitive to chemical stimuli such as sulfur dioxide gas or chlorine gas. Rapidly moving air usually carries with it any foreign matter that is present in the bronchi or trachea. Stimulation of the cough receptors by dust or other foreign particles produces a cough, which is necessary to remove the foreign material from the respiratory tract before it reaches the lungs

Head and neck anatomy

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.

Adenoid hypertrophy upper respiratory tract disease characterized by the unusual growth of the adenoid tonsil; has symptom snoring, has symptom hyponasality, has symptom otitis media with effusion, has symptom mouth breathing

Adenoid hypertrophy is the unusual growth (hypertrophy) of the adenoid first described in 1868 by the Danish physician Wilhelm Meyer (1824–1895) in Copenhagen. He described a long term adenoid hypertrophy that will cause an obstruction of the nasal airways. These will lead to a dentofacial growth anomaly that was defined as "adenoid facies".

Pretracheal fascia

The pretracheal fascia is a portion of the structure of the human neck. It extends medially in front of the carotid vessels and assists in forming the carotid sheath.

Mouth First portion of the alimentary canal that receives food

In animal anatomy, the mouth, also known as the oral cavity, buccal cavity, or in Latin cavum oris, is the opening through which many animals take in food and issue vocal sounds. It is also the cavity lying at the upper end of the alimentary canal, bounded on the outside by the lips and inside by the pharynx and containing in higher vertebrates the tongue and teeth. This cavity is also known as the buccal cavity, from the Latin bucca ("cheek").

Respiratory system of the horse

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

Laryngeal cavity

The laryngeal cavity extends from the laryngeal inlet downwards to the lower border of the cricoid cartilage where it is continuous with that of the trachea.

Pharynx 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 larynx – the tubes going down to the stomach and the lungs. It is found in vertebrates and invertebrates, though its structure varies across species.

Human digestive system combination of anatomical organs that are responsible for digestive function

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 first stage is the cephalic phase of digestion which begins with gastric secretions in response to the sight and smell of food. This stage includes the mechanical breakdown of food by chewing, and the chemical breakdown by digestive enzymes, that takes place in the mouth.

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.

This article is about the production of intelligible speech.


  1. " throat " at Dorland's Medical Dictionary
  2. "Throat anatomy and physiology". Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Retrieved 7 August 2015.
  3. Farlex dictionary, citing: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, published 1913 by C. & G. Merriam Co.

See also