Anatomy of the Head and Neck

The head and neck can be divided into several different regions:

Pharynx Click here for image enlargement.

  • nasopharynx: area behind the nose
  • pharynx: hollow tube at the upper part of the throat that starts behind the nose, runs down to the neck, and becomes part of the esophagus, the tube that goes to the stomach
  • oral cavity: lips, floor of mouth, tongue, buccal mucosa (lining inside the lips and cheeks), gingiva (gums) and hard palate (bony top of the mouth), salivary glands (parotid, submandibular and minor salivary glands)
  • oropharynx: base of tongue, tonsillar region, soft palate and pharyngeal walls
  • hypopharynx: bottom part of the throat
  • larynx (voice box): supraglottic, glottic (vocal cords), and subglottic regions
  • nasal cavity: paranasal sinuses (ethmoid and maxillary)

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015