Throat anatomy

The throat is a fascinating and complex part of our anatomy. It performs a range of functions which includes speech, prevents the build up of saliva, aids with digestion, enables breathing and keeps our airways free from obstructions such as mucus. The throat is comprised of a series of smaller organs which include

  • Adenoids
  • Tonsils
  • Epiglottis
  • Uvula
  • Larynx
  • Pharynx
  • Vocal cords
  • Trachea

Each of these is discussed individually within this section.

The throat runs from the pharynx at the top down to the upper part of the oesophagus. Next to the pharynx are the epiglottis, then the larynx, oesophagus and finally the trachea.

Basically, the throat starts from behind the nose and runs down the neck.

Ear, nose and throat

The throat works in conjunction with other areas of the body such as the mouth, ears and nose. The mouth and pharynx are joined together and act as a conduit for food and liquid as well as enabling speech. The ear is joined to the throat via the Eustachian tube and the nose (rear of) is connected to the throat via the nasopharynx (top part of the pharynx which lies behind the throat).

The branch of medicine which deals with conditions related to this area is called ‘ENT’or ‘ear, nose and throat’medicine.

We do not think about our throat until something goes wrong but this delicate structure of nerves, tissues and blood vessels requires careful handling. But many health problems are preventable if we take a few steps to look after our throat.

The care and prevention of throat problems is discussed further in this guide.

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