The pharynx, also known as the throat, is a tube made of muscle tissue coated by a mucous membrane that traps dust particles that enter through the nose. It is spit into three parts:
– Nasopharynx or rhinopharynx: it is located behind the nasal fossa, above the veil of the palate (velum). Its main function is to allow air to pass on to the other airways.
– Oropharynx: located behind the mouth, it is the middle area of the pharynx, where the palatine tonsils are located.
– Laryngopharynx: it is an independent conduit that is involved with the passage of food. It is located behind the velum of the palate. This location is due to the pharynx’s double function, meaning, it is also part of the digestive system.
The larynx is a tubular musculocartilaginous structure that measures up to five centimeters long. It connects the pharynx to the trachea.
The laryngeal walls are formed by a series of cartilages (thyroids, cricoids, arytenoids, cuneiforms, corniculate or Santorini’s cartilage and the epiglottis) that work together, each using its different shape. They all move thanks to the action of muscles that are internally coated by a mucous membrane.
The main function of the larynx is to produce our voice. In addition, it allows air to pass on to the trachea, and during deglutition, it closes the path to any foreign bodies.
This organ is split into three parts:
– Supraglottis or vestibule: it is the area where the epiglottis is located.
– Glottis or middle part: this is where the vocal folds or vocal cords are found. They are two bundles of muscle tissue made up by the so-called true and false folds.
The true folds, which enclose the glottis (phonation organ), are the ones that produce the sound of our voice when the air exiting the lungs passes through the vocal cords, making them vibrate. The false folds only close the entrance to the larynx.
– Infraglottis or inferior part: it is located between the vocal folds and the trachea.