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Imaging of Larynx and Pharynx Anatomy

Author(s): Malekmaryam Afkar

Journal: Iranian Journal of Radiology
ISSN 1735-1065

Volume: 6;
Issue: S1;
Start page: 73;
Date: 2009;
Original page

"nThe soft tissues of the neck and the mucosal surfaces of the larynx are readily accessible either by indirect visualization using a mirror or direct visualization by an endoscope. Therefore, endolarynx can entirely be seen and most tumors are diagnosed. If voice problems are suspected, videotaping of direct examination allows assessment of subtle movement disorders. Only if initial clinical evaluation is inconclusive, a direct examination under anesthesia is performed. This inspection allows better direct observation of the laryngeal mucosa as well as better direct examination of the laryngeal ventricle and the subglottic region. Deep soft tissue extension or cartilaginous involvement can not be visualized. Consequently, the evaluation is performed by imaging , carried out as an adjunct to direct assessment. The larynx presents one of the true challenges of head and neck imaging. The organ is small and in almost constant motion. Breathing and swallowing create significant artifacts that can be controlled only briefly. The quality of laryngeal images has always been related to acquisition speed. Despite the mentioned drawbacks, multidetector spiral CT scanning and fast MRI techniques can develop excellent images. The information obtained by modern imaging when combined with surface visualization of modern laryngoscopy, provides excellent understanding of laryngeal pathology. A discussion of the laryngopharynx (hypopharynx) is included because of its intimate relationship to the posterior aspect of the larynx. Behind the oral cavity and extending from the base of the skull to the level of the caudal cricoid cartilage, is the mucosa-lined musculomembranous tube known as the pharynx. The pharynx has been subdivided into 3 sections: 1-Nasopharynx, which extends from the skull base to the level of the hard palate. 2-Oropharynx, which extends from the level of the hard palate to the level of the hyoid bone. 3-Hypopharynx which extends from the level of the hyoid bone to the caudal margin of the cricoid cartilage or the top of cricopharyngeus.  
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