The pharynx is the part of the digestive system of many animals immediately behind the mouth and in front of the esophagus. In mammals, it is where the digestive tract and the respiratory tract cross, commonly called the "throat" (which term may also include the larynx) The pharynx attaches to the larynx, which is the first element of the airways. The human pharynx is bent at a sharper angle than other mammal pharynges, enabling us to produce a wider variety of sounds, but also putting us in danger of choking.
The human pharynx is divided into three sections: the nasopharynx, lying behind the nasal cavity; the oropharynx, behind the oral cavity; and the laryngopharynx, posterior to the larynx.
Palpation of the base of the tongue and direct evaluation of the extent of the disease, especially the lower extent of the disease in the pharyngeal wall and to rule out involvement of the hypopharynx.
Adequate surgical approaches and exposure of early tumors of the oropharynx may be difficult requiring mandibulotomy, pharyngotomy or occasionally, if the tumor is adherent to the mandible, composite resection with segmental mandibulectomy.
Consequently, the incidence of metastases to both sides of the neck is high in tumors of the oropharynx.
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