Lining of the nasopharynx | Acland's Video Atlas of Human Anatomy Skip to main content


Now we’ll move back, and look at the nasopharynx. To do that, we’ll put the nasal septum back in place. Here’s the right half of the nasopharynx. The openings from the two nasal cavities into the nasopharynx (here’s the right one) are called the choanae, or posterior nares.

The roof of the nasophaynx lies underneath the basilar part of the occipital bone. The back of the nasopharynx lies in front of the atlas vertebra: here’s the anterior arch of the atlas.

In the mucosa of the lateral wall of the nasopharynx there’s a pronounced inward fold called the torus tubarius. It’s produced by the inward projection of the cartilage of the auditory tube. The mucosal opening of the tube is here. Behind the torus tubarius is a deep recess, the pharyngeal recess.

The floor of the nasopharynx is formed by the soft palate, which forms a highly mobile partition between the nasopharynx and the back of the oral cavity. The nasopharynx opens downward, into the oropharynx.

The soft palate can move upwards, backwards and downwards. Its movements, which are important in swallowing and in speech, are produced by several small muscles. These converge on the soft palate from above and from below. Most of them insert on a sheet of aponeurosis or tendon-like material that occcupies this part of the palate.

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