Introducing the nasopharynx

What is the nasopharynx?

The pharynx is the medical term for the throat. It has three parts:

  • nasopharynx (upper throat)

  • oropharynx (mid throat, including the tonsils)

  • hypopharynx (lower throat).

The nasopharynx is the highest part of the throat. It is the airway behind the nose and above the top of the mouth (soft palate). 

What does the nasopharynx do?

The nasopharynx connects the nose (nasal) cavity to the space behind the mouth (the oropharynx). 

The nasopharynx allows air breathed into the nose to go down through the voice box (larynx) and into the lungs. It also allows phlegm (mucus) from the nose to be swallowed or spat out.  

Introducing the nasopharynx and the surrounding areas