Larynx and Hypopharynx (2023)

, DavidC.ShonkaJr.2, MaxWintermark3 and SugotoMukherjee4


Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA


Division of Head and Neck Surgical Oncology, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA


Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA


Division of Neuroradiology, Department of Radiology and Medical Imaging, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA, USA


This chapter will focus on the imaging evaluation of squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and hypopharynx. Although several other malignant neoplasms can occur in the larynx, these are uncommon and will not be addressed in detail. Imaging of traumatic and inflammatory processes and vocal cord paralysis is also briefly discussed.

5.1 Introduction

This chapter will focus on the imaging evaluation of squamous cell carcinoma of the larynx and hypopharynx. Although several other malignant neoplasms can occur in the larynx, these are uncommon and will not be addressed in detail. Imaging of traumatic and inflammatory processes and vocal cord paralysis is also briefly discussed.

5.2 Anatomy (Box 5.1)

The laryngeal skeleton is comprised of the hyoid bone, three unpaired (epiglottis, thyroid, cricoid), and four paired (arytenoid, corniculate, cuneiform, triticeous) cartilages (Fig. 5.1). The corniculate and cuneiform cartilages (located along the aryepiglottic folds) and the triticeous (located in the thyrohyoid membrane) are of no clinical significance. The epiglottis is attached to the laryngeal skeleton by the hyoepiglottic and thyroepiglottic ligaments. The mucosa of the lingual surface is contiguous with that of the vallecula and tongue base (Fig. 5.1). The epiglottis has little resistance to tumor invasion.

Larynx and Hypopharynx (1)

Fig. 5.1

(Video) Hypopharyngeal & Laryngeal Cancer (throat) - What Is It? Symptoms & Treatment? Head & Neck Cancer

The laryngeal cartilages. (a) The epiglottis has a lingual (solid arrow) and laryngeal (dashed arrow) surface. The valleculae (asterisk) lie between the lingual surface and the base of the tongue. (b) The thyroid cartilage can be variably calcified/ossified. The arytenoid cartilages are comprised of a vocal (solid arrow) and a muscular process (dashed arrow). The vocal processes provide attachment to the true cords. The mucosa between the arytenoid cartilages is the inter-arytenoid area (asterisk). The cricoarytenoid joint space is best seen on the sagittal plane (c). Note that the height of the cricoid ring is greater posteriorly than anteriorly

The thyroid cartilage is comprised of two laminae attached at the midline. Superior and inferior cornua project from the posterior edge of each lamina. The thyroid cartilage is connected to the hyoid bone by the thyrohyoid membrane, which is pierced by the superior laryngeal neurovascular bundle; this provides a pathway for extralaryngeal tumor spread. The thyroid cartilage is connected to the cricoid cartilage by the cricothyroid membrane. The inferior cornua articulate with a small facet on each side of the cricoid cartilage. In young people, the thyroid cartilage, like other laryngeal cartilages, is of soft tissue density on CT scan. It mineralizes with age in a central to peripheral direction. Ossified foci of cartilage often contain fatty marrow (Fig. 5.1).

The cricoid cartilage is shaped like a signet ring and has an anterior arch and a flat posterior quadrate lamina (Fig. 5.1). Along the superior edge of the lamina on either side of the midline are two facets for articulation with the pyramidal arytenoid cartridges. The cricoid cartilage is the foundation upon which the framework the larynx rests. Tumor involvement of this structure precludes any type of voice preservation surgery.

The arytenoid cartilages articulate with the cricoid cartilage by true synovial joints, which are susceptible to all the disease processes that may afflict synovial joints elsewhere in the body. An anterior vocal process provides attachment to the vocal ligament. The lateral muscular process provides attachment to the lateral and posterior cricoarytenoid muscles (Fig. 5.1). With age, the arytenoid cartilage can undergo mineralization which may be markedly asymmetric.

The aryepiglottic folds arise from each lateral edge of the epiglottis and extend to the arytenoids. They are supported by a fibrous fascial sheet called the quadrangular membrane. The lower free edge of the aryepiglottic fold forms the false vocal cord, and the associated edge of the quadrangular membrane forms the ventricular ligament. The aryepiglottic folds also form the medial margin of the paraglottic spaces (Fig. 5.2).

Larynx and Hypopharynx (2)

Fig. 5.2

(a) The aryepiglottic folds (arrows, a) descend on either side from the lateral margins of the epiglottis. The AE folds are supported by the conus elasticus. Their free edges form the false cords (b). The false cords contain fat as opposed to the true cords which are nearly entirely comprised of the thyroarytenoideus muscle (arrows, c). The arrowhead in (c) points to the anterior commissure. The asterisks indicate the paraglottic spaces

Each true vocal cord is comprised of mucosa covering the fibrous vocal ligament medially and the thyroarytenoid (vocalis) muscle laterally. The anterior commissure is an important anatomic landmark where the fibers of the vocal ligament directly pierce the thyroid cartilage. The absence of a protective perichondrium in this location permits tumors to access the thyroid cartilage (Fig. 5.2). The space between the true and false vocal cords is the laryngeal ventricle. The saccule/appendix of the laryngeal ventricle is lined by mucus glands and may extend into the paraglottic space. The posterior commissure is the region between the two arytenoid cartilages (inter-arytenoid area) (Fig. 5.3).

Larynx and Hypopharynx (3)

Fig. 5.3

The laryngeal ventricle and the divisions of the larynx. The laryngeal ventricle (arrows, a) is the space between the false and the true cords and is best seen on a coronal view. The glottis includes the ventricle and about 1 cm of the airway inferiorly. The subglottis extends from this point to the lower margin of the cricoid cartilage. The paired dashed upper lines in (b) correspond to the conus elasticus and the inferior pair of dashed lines, to the cricovocal membrane. Note that the paraglottic spaces run nearly the entire length of the larynx (black lines in b) and are limited inferiorly by the cricovocal membrane

The conus elasticus is a thick membrane that extends from the vocal ligament to the upper margins of the cricoid cartilage. This membrane is an effective barrier to inferior submucosal spread of glottic malignancy (Fig. 5.3).

It is crucially important to understand the radiology of two spaces in the larynx (Fig. 5.4). The preepiglottic space is a fat-containing midline space located anterior to the epiglottis, posterior to the hyoid bone and thyrohyoid membrane, and contained between the hyoepiglottic ligament superiorly and the thyroepiglottic ligament inferiorly (Fig. 5.4). The preepiglottic space continues on each side as the paraglottic spaces which are bounded laterally by the thyroid cartilage and thyrohyoid membrane and medially by the quadrangular membrane (aryepiglottic folds). The space spans the entirety of the supraglottis and glottis and is limited interiorly by the conus elasticus. Paraglottic space involvement allows submucosal extension of laryngeal malignancy, which may not be visible on endoscopy; it upstages laryngeal cancer and is associated with increased risk of regional metastatic lymphadenopathy. Tumors that arise outside of the larynx may also involve these spaces: the preepiglottic space may be involved by base of tongue malignancy, and the paraglottic space may be involved by invasive pyriform sinus cancers.

Larynx and Hypopharynx (4)

Fig. 5.4

The laryngeal spaces. The preepiglottic space (asterisk in a and b) is enclosed between the hyoepiglottic and thyroepiglottic ligaments and contains a pad of fat. It is best seen on a sagittal view. The preepiglottic space is contiguous with the paraglottic spaces on either side (arrows, b)

(Video) 03. TNM Staging Larynx Hypopharynx

The larynx is divided into the supraglottis, glottis, and subglottis. The supraglottis is cephalad to a plane across the apex of the ventricles. The glottis lies between this plane and a plane drawn 1 cm more caudal; it encompasses the floor of the ventricle, the anterior and posterior commissures, and the true vocal cords. The subglottis extends from the second plane to the inferior margin of the cricoid cartilage (Fig. 5.3).

The supraglottic larynx is drained bilaterally by a rich lymphatic network, and supraglottic squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) tend to spread to level II and III lymph nodes bilaterally. The glottis, especially the true vocal cord, is poorly served by lymphatics. Small true vocal cord tumors almost are never associated with cervical lymphadenopathy. The subglottis drains to central compartment (level VI) lymph nodes.

The recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN), a branch of the vagus, innervates all the laryngeal muscles except for the cricothyroid, which is supplied by the superior laryngeal nerves. The right RLN loops under the right subclavian artery before ascending along the tracheoesophageal groove to enter the larynx. The left RLN loops under the arch of the aorta.

The hypopharynx is divided into three subsites: the postcricoid area, the posterior pharyngeal wall, and the pyriform sinuses (Fig. 5.5). The pyriform sinuses may be imagined as inverted cone-shaped outpouchings of the hypopharynx lateral to the larynx. The medial walls of the pyriform sinuses are formed by the aryepiglottic folds. The lateral walls are formed by the thyroid cartilage. It is important to note that the paraglottic space lies directly anterior to the pyriform sinuses. The apices of the pyriform sinuses lie roughly at the level of the superior margin of the cricoid cartilage; cancer in this location is almost invariably treated by a total laryngectomy due to the need for cricoid resection to obtain adequate margins. As the cricoid cartilage is the structural foundation of the larynx, its removal necessitates total laryngectomy.

Larynx and Hypopharynx (5)

Fig. 5.5

The pyriform sinuses. The pyriform sinuses (asterisks in a and b) are paired outpouchings of the hypopharynx, sandwiched between the aryepiglottic folds (arrows, b) and the thyroid cartilages. It is important to note that the paraglottic spaces (PG) are immediately anterior to the pyriform sinuses and tumor spread between the larynx and hypopharynx can easily occur here

Box 5.1. Key Anatomical Terms

  • Divisions

  • Supraglottis

  • Subsites

  • Epiglottis – suprahyoid (tip, lingual, and laryngeal surfaces)

  • Epiglottis – infrahyoid

  • Aryepiglottic folds – laryngeal surface

  • False vocal cords

  • Arytenoid cartilages

  • Glottis

  • True vocal cords

  • Anterior commissure

  • Posterior commissure (inter-arytenoid area)

  • Subglottis

  • Cartilages

    (Video) Radiological anatomy of Larynx and Hypopharynx- Dr Kajari Bhattacharya

  • Unpaired

  • Epiglottis

  • Thyroid

  • Cricoid

  • Paired

  • Arytenoid

  • Corniculate

  • Cuneiform

  • Triticeous

  • Ligaments

  • Hyoepiglottic

  • Thyroepiglottic

  • Ventricular ligament – false vocal cord

  • Vocal ligament – true vocal cord

  • Spaces

  • Preepiglottic space

  • Paraglottic space

  • Membranes and fascia

  • Quadrangular membrane

  • Conus elasticus

  • Thyrohyoid membrane

  • Cricothyroid membrane

  • Joints

  • Cricoarytenoid joints

  • Cricothyroid joints

  • Muscles

  • Thyroarytenoideus – forms bulk of true cords

  • Posterior and lateral cricoarytenoid – antagonistic muscles that abduct and adduct the TVCs

5.3 Imaging Evaluation

Plain radiography plays little to no role in the evaluation of laryngeal pathology, except perhaps in the localization of foreign bodies. Computed tomography is mainstay of laryngeal imaging and is best performed on helical scanners where the entire larynx may be covered in one breath hold. It is important to obtain axial planes along the axis of laryngeal ventricles in order to be able to assess anatomy accurately. This is easily achieved by educating the technologist to reconstruct a set of axial images parallel to the C2–C3 intervertebral disc space. This space is roughly parallel to the plane of the ventricles. Coverage must extend from the skull base to the aortopulmonary window, especially when vocal cord paralysis is being evaluated. Intravenous contrast improves tumor delineation and characterization of lymph nodes.

MRI is rarely used for laryngeal imaging, but may be valuable when assessment of laryngeal cartilage invasion is of critical importance. A typical MR study should consist of precontrast axial and sagittal T1-weighted sequences to depict low-signal-intensity tumor against a background of high-intensity fat contained in ossified cartilage marrow and in the preepiglottic and paraglottic spaces. Fat-suppressed T2-weighted sequences enable detection of high-signal-intensity tumors amid dark suppressed fat. Post-contrast fat-suppressed T1-weighted obtained in axial, coronal, and sagittal planes highlight enhancing tumor and enable differentiation from non-enhancing edema. MR images are often degraded by respiratory and pulsation artifact. In routine clinical practice, most questions can be answered by CT alone.

PET/CT does not aid significantly in establishing the extent of primary laryngeal tumors. It is also not definitively useful in pretreatment evaluation for regional metastasis, which can be adequately accomplished by standard CT and clinical exam. PET/CT may have value in staging advanced tumors that are at risk for distant metastasis and in the evaluation of recurrent disease in the posttreatment neck.

(Video) Laryngeal Anatomy Part 2: internal anatomy of larynx and laryngopharynx

5.4 Squamous Cell Carcinoma

5.4.1 Radiographic Staging

Accurate interpretation of imaging for laryngeal SCC rests upon a thorough understanding of the TNM staging criteria (Box 5.2). The task of the radiologist is not primarily to diagnose SCC but to assist in staging it. Clinical T stage is assigned based on data obtained from endoscopic evaluation and cross-sectional imaging. Although tumors of the supraglottis, glottis, and subglottis are staged slightly differently, the principles behind such staging, such as extent of tumor, impairment of cord mobility, cartilage invasion, and involvement of extralaryngeal structures remain the same. Key concepts in the imaging evaluation are:


Subsite involvement: The supraglottic subsites include the suprahyoid epiglottis, the infrahyoid epiglottis, the aryepiglottic folds, the false vocal cords, and the arytenoids. Involvement of more than one subsite indicates at least a T2 lesion (Fig. 5.6). Although endoscopy in most cases can assess the number of subsites involved accurately, the radiologist must attempt to accurately describe all locations involved, especially when bulky tumors prevent adequate visualization.

Larynx and Hypopharynx (6)

Fig. 5.6

T2 supraglottic squamous cell carcinoma. Note the nodular soft tissue thickening of the mucosa of the left aryepiglottic fold (arrow) and root of the epiglottis (white arrowhead

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  • Pediatric Head and Neck Lesions
  • Maxilla and Mandible
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Larynx and Hypopharynx (15)


What is the larynx and hypopharynx? ›

The hypopharynx is the lower part of the throat (pharynx) that lies right behind your larynx. The hypopharynx is the entrance into the esophagus (the tube that connects your throat to your stomach). When you swallow foods and liquids, they pass through your throat to your stomach.

What is larynx and hypopharynx cancer? ›

Hypopharyngeal cancer and laryngeal cancer are both throat cancers. But they affect different parts of the throat. Hypopharyngeal cancer develops in cells that make up the lower part of the pharynx, right above the esophagus. Laryngeal cancer grows inside tissues of the larynx (commonly called the voicebox).

Is the larynx part of the hypopharynx? ›

The laryngopharynx, also referred to as the hypopharynx, is the most caudal portion of the pharynx and is a crucial connection point through which food, water, and air pass. Specifically, it refers to the point at which the pharynx divides anteriorly into the larynx and posteriorly into the esophagus.

What are the early signs of larynx cancer? ›

Symptoms of laryngeal cancer
  • a change in your voice, such as sounding hoarse.
  • pain when swallowing or difficulty swallowing.
  • a lump or swelling in your neck.
  • a long-lasting cough or breathlessness.
  • a persistent sore throat or earache.
  • a high-pitched wheezing noise when you breathe.
  • in severe cases, difficulty breathing.

What is the function of the larynx? ›

The larynx is a cartilaginous segment of the respiratory tract located in the anterior aspect of the neck. The primary function of the larynx in humans and other vertebrates is to protect the lower respiratory tract from aspirating food into the trachea while breathing.

What are the 3 parts of the larynx? ›

The larynx is often divided into three sections: sublarynx, larynx, and supralarynx. It is formed by nine cartilages that are connected to each other by muscles and ligaments.

How treatable is cancer of the larynx? ›

Throat cancers may be cured when detected early. If the cancer has not spread (metastasized) to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes in the neck, about one half of patients can be cured. If the cancer has spread to the lymph nodes and parts of the body outside the head and neck, the cancer is not curable.

What is the survival rate for laryngeal cancer? ›

The 5-year survival rate for this cancer is 76%. If the cancer is only located in the larynx (localized cancer), the 5-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs and/or the regional lymph nodes (regional cancer), the 5-year survival rate is 49%.

What is the survival rate of hypopharynx cancer? ›

SEER stage5-year relative survival rate
All SEER stages combined35%
Mar 1, 2022

What is hypopharynx also called? ›

The hypopharynx, also called the gullet, is the lower part of the throat. It surrounds the larynx. The pharynx, more commonly known as the throat, is a hollow tube about 5 inches long.

What are the two parts of the larynx? ›

What are the parts of the larynx?
  • Epiglottis: This flap of skin covers the opening of your larynx. ...
  • False vocal cords: False vocal cords, or vestibular folds, close your larynx when you swallow so that food doesn't go into your trachea and lungs.
Oct 13, 2021

What is the difference between pharynx and larynx? ›

Pharynx — is the muscle-lined space that connects the nose and mouth to the larynx and esophagus (eating tube). Larynx — also known as the voice box, the larynx is a cylindrical grouping of cartilages, muscles and soft tissue that contains the vocal cords.

Can an ENT see cancer of the larynx? ›

Your ENT doctor sees, diagnoses, and treats many conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. One of the most worrisome is throat cancer, along with malignancies of the pharynx, tonsils, and larynx.

What age does laryngeal cancer start? ›

Most people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer are 55 or older; a very small number of people diagnosed are younger than 55. The average age of people diagnosed with laryngeal cancer is about 66. Black men are more likely to develop laryngeal cancer than White men and are more likely to die from it.

What is the first stage of throat cancer? ›

Stage 1: The tumor is limited to the part of the throat where it started. Stage 2: The tumor has grown into a nearby area. Stage 3: The tumor has grown into other structures in the throat or spread to one lymph node. Stage 4: The tumor has spread to the lymph nodes or distant organs.

What controls the larynx? ›

Movement of the larynx is controlled by two groups of muscles. The muscles that move the vocal folds and other muscles within the larynx are called the intrinsic muscles. The position of the larynx in the neck is controlled by a second set call the extrinsic muscles.

Is the larynx responsible for voice? ›

The larynx, or voice box, is located in the neck and performs several important functions in the body. The larynx is involved in swallowing, breathing, and voice production. Sound is produced when the air which passes through the vocal cords causes them to vibrate and create sound waves in the pharynx, nose and mouth.

What organs does the larynx work with? ›

larynx, also called voice box, a hollow, tubular structure connected to the top of the windpipe (trachea); air passes through the larynx on its way to the lungs. The larynx also produces vocal sounds and prevents the passage of food and other foreign particles into the lower respiratory tracts.

Is the larynx the Adam's apple? ›

You can find your larynx by touching the front of your throat and humming. When you feel vibrations under your fingers, you've found it! When the larynx grows larger during puberty, it sticks out at the front of the throat. This is what's called an Adam's apple.

Does larynx produce sound? ›

Phonatory System, also known as the larynx or “voice box”, where sound is produced includes: larynx and, specifically, the vocal folds (also called “vocal cords”).

Where is your larynx located? ›

The larynx is also called the voicebox. It is in the neck, above the windpipe (trachea) and in front of the gullet (oesophagus). The windpipe is the tube that carries air to and from the lungs. The gullet is the tube that food goes down when you eat.

Where does laryngeal cancer spread first? ›

Laryngeal cancer metastases are most typically noted locoregionally to the cervical lymph nodes. Distant metastasis is seen much less frequently. The most commonly affected sites for distant metastases are the lungs (66%), bone (22%), liver (10%), mediastinum, and bone marrow.

How do you get rid of laryngeal cancer? ›

A total laryngectomy is usually used to treat advanced laryngeal cancer. The operation involves removing your entire larynx. Nearby lymph nodes (small glands that form part of the immune system) may also need to be removed if the cancer has spread to them.

Can you speak if you have laryngeal cancer? ›

If you have had all of your larynx removed (total laryngectomy), you will not be able to speak normally, because you'll no longer have vocal cords. There are a number of different ways you can learn to communicate again, although they can take weeks or months to learn.

Can you live 10 years with throat cancer? ›

For most head and neck cancer subtypes, one-year survival falls between 5 and 10 years after diagnosis.

What is the best treatment for larynx cancer? ›

Chemotherapy and radiation therapy given together. Chemotherapy followed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy given together. Laryngectomy may be done if cancer remains. Radiation therapy alone for patients who cannot be treated with chemotherapy and surgery.

Can you live a long life with throat cancer? ›

Overall, for all cases and types of laryngeal cancer, about 55% of patients survive for 10 years or more after diagnosis.

What age does hypopharynx cancer occur? ›

Age. Cancers of the larynx and hypopharynx usually develop over many years, so they are not common in young people. Over half of patients with these cancers are 65 or older when the cancers are first found.

Where does hypopharynx cancer spread to? ›

Hypopharyngeal cancer forms in the tissues of the hypopharynx (the bottom part of the throat). It may spread to nearby tissues or to cartilage around the thyroid or trachea, the bone under the tongue (hyoid bone), the thyroid, the trachea, the larynx, or the esophagus.

What causes hypopharynx cancer? ›

Tobacco and alcohol: Scientists believe that some risk factors, such as tobacco or heavy alcohol use, cause these cancers by damaging the DNA of the cells that line the inside of the larynx and hypopharynx.

What is another name for the larynx? ›

The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called voice box.

What makes up the hypopharynx? ›

The hypopharynx comprises the piriform sinuses, the lateral and posterior pharyngeal walls, and the posterior surfaces of the larynx. These structures surround the larynx posteriorly and laterally.

Where does the hypopharynx start? ›

The hypopharynx begins as the continuation of the oropharynx at the pharyngoepiglottic fold (which is at the level of the hyoid bone) superiorly, and extends inferiorly to the level of the inferior aspect of the cricoid cartilage, where it continues as the cervical esophagus.

Is the back of the throat called the larynx? ›

The larynx, or voice box, sits at the back of the throat, above the windpipe (trachea). It is supported by rings of cartilage, which form the bump of the Adam's apple. The vocal cords are stretchy bands of tissue attached to the inside of the larynx.

What nerve supplies the larynx? ›

The vagus nerve is the large nerve that supplies the many branches of nerves that innervate the larynx. The superior laryngeal nerve, its external and internal branches, and the recurrent laryngeal nerve all have very distinct roles in motor and sensory innervation of the larynx.

Which muscles raise the larynx? ›

Muscles inserted on the superior aspect of the hyoid (geniohyoid, digastric, mylohyoid, thyrohyoid, and stylohyoid muscles) and pharynx (stylopharyngeus, palatopharyngeus, and pharyngeal constrictor muscles) act in conjunction to elevate the larynx.

What comes first larynx or pharynx? ›

What comes first larynx or pharynx? Pharynx comes first, which opens into the larynx.

How do the pharynx and larynx work together? ›

The Pharynx Connects the Nasal and Oral Cavities to the Larynx and Esophagus. The pharynx, or throat, is shaped like a funnel. During respiration, it conducts air between the larynx and trachea (or “windpipe”) and the nasal and the oral cavities.

Does pharynx become larynx? ›

Definition. The pharynx is a muscular column that begins in the head posterior to the nasal cavity, travels inferiorly behind the oral cavity before finally merging with the larynx and esophagus.

What does cancer of the larynx feel like? ›

Early cancer of the supraglottis (above the vocal cords) may cause pain, perhaps made worse with swallowing, and the pain may feel like it involves the ear, a phenomenon known as referred ear pain. Moderate to advanced laryngeal cancer may cause: Difficulty or painful swallowing. Difficulty breathing.

Can you have throat cancer for years and not know it? ›

Rarely, patients may report pain in the back of the throat or difficulty swallowing. But most have no symptoms at all, and are very surprised to hear that they have throat cancer. Almost all throat cancers that doctors see at MD Anderson are squamous cell carcinomas.

What kind of doctor treats larynx cancer? ›

These doctors can include: An otolaryngologist (also known as an ear, nose, and throat, or ENT doctor): a surgeon who treats certain diseases of the head and neck. A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy.

Is laryngeal cancer fast growing? ›

Throat cancer is a rare form of cancer that develops in the throat, larynx or tonsils. Some of its most common symptoms include a persistent sore throat and/or cough, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, ear pain and a neck mass. It can develop quickly, which is why early diagnosis is key to successful treatment.

Can you feel if you have throat cancer? ›

Trouble swallowing: Throat cancer can cause pain or a burning sensation when chewing and swallowing food. You might feel like food is sticking in your throat. A lump in your throat: You may have a lump in your throat caused by an enlarged lymph node.

What happens if you don't treat laryngeal cancer? ›

The survival of patients with stage T4a larynx cancer who are untreated is typically less than one year. The symptoms associated with untreated disease include severe pain and inability to eat, drink, and swallow.

What age is throat cancer most common? ›

While people over the age of 55 are at highest risk for developing throat cancer, it's growing more common in younger people due to the increased prevalence of HPV. The most common treatments for throat cancers include surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

How fast does throat cancer spread? ›

Professor Christopher Nutting explains that throat cancers will develop steadily in an individual patient once the tumour has developed. Cancers will double in size about every two to three months, which is quite quick compared to other tumour types.

Where does larynx cancer spread to? ›

Laryngeal cancer forms in the tissues of the larynx (area of the throat that contains the vocal cords). The larynx includes the supraglottis, glottis (vocal cords), and subglottis. The cancer may spread to nearby tissues or to the thyroid, trachea, or esophagus.

What is the hypopharynx? ›

The hypopharynx is the bottom part of the pharynx (throat). The pharynx is a hollow tube about 5 inches long that starts behind the nose, goes down the neck, and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes from the throat to the stomach).

What is considered the hypopharynx? ›

(HY-poh-FAYR-inx) The bottom part of the throat.

What is the function of hypopharynx? ›

The hypopharynx functions to guide food into the esophagus and away from the larynx, during normal swallowing. The hypopharynx extends from the level of the hyoid bone to the inferior edge of the cricoid cartilage, corresponding to the C4 through C6 vertebral bodies.

What is the difference between laryngeal and pharyngeal? ›

The larynx opens into the trachea. Both food and air pass through the pharynx.
Pharynx vs Larynx.
It is a part of both respiratory and digestive systemIt is a part of the respiratory system.
The walls of the pharynx are made of musclesThe walls of the larynx are made of cartilages
2 more rows

How do you examine hypopharynx? ›

Endoscopy. An endoscopy is done when diagnosing and staging hypopharyngeal cancer. It allows a doctor to look inside the body using a flexible tube with a light and lens on the end. This tool is called an endoscope.

What is the esophagus and larynx called? ›

What is the throat? The throat (pharynx and larynx) is a ring-like muscular tube that acts as the passageway for air, food and liquid. It is located behind the nose and mouth and connects the mouth (oral cavity) and nose to the breathing passages (trachea [windpipe] and lungs) and the esophagus (eating tube).

What is the larynx also known as? ›

(LAYR-inx) The area of the throat containing the vocal cords and used for breathing, swallowing, and talking. Also called voice box.

What is the larynx more commonly known as? ›

Your larynx is part of your respiratory system. It's a hollow tube that lets air pass from your throat (pharynx) to your trachea on the way to your lungs. It also contains your vocal cords and is essential to human speech, so it's often called the voice box.

How many types of larynx are there? ›

The larynx is a mucosa-covered collection of intricately related cartilages, ligaments, and muscle. The seven cartilages are the epiglottis (elastic type), thyroid (hyaline type), cricoid (hyaline type), arytenoid (hyaline type), corniculate (elastic type), cuneiform (elastic type), and triticeous (hyaline type).

What are the three regions of the hypopharynx? ›

The hypopharynx is subdivided into three regions: the piriform sinuses, the postcricoid region, and the posterior pharyngeal wall (Fig. 101.1). Thepiriform sinuses are the most common subsite of hypopharyngeal malignancies.

Where is the larynx and pharynx? ›

The pharynx, commonly called the throat, is a muscular, funnel-shaped passageway inside the body. It connects the mouth and nose to the esophagus (leading to the stomach) and larynx (leading to the trachea and then lungs).

Which comes first larynx or pharynx? ›

What comes first larynx or pharynx? Pharynx comes first, which opens into the larynx.

Is the throat the pharynx or larynx? ›

The hollow tube inside the neck that starts behind the nose and ends at the top of the trachea (windpipe) and esophagus (the tube that goes to the stomach). The throat is about 5 inches long, depending on body size. Also called pharynx.


1. Larynx and hypopharynx sheet- Dr.Ahmed Eltelety
(Egyptian ENT Forum)
2. Applied Anatomy Of Larynx And Hypopharynx- Dr Shikhar Sawhney
3. Imaging of larynx
(Radiology Video - radiology made esay)
4. CT scan of larynx and hypopharynx (Neck format)
(CT Scan & MRI)
5. Landmark Surgical trials for carcinoma of Larynx and Hypopharynx- Dr Shivakumar Thiagarajan
6. Suresh Mukherji Imaging of the Hypopharynx
(Suresh Mukherji)
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