Posterior Pharyngeal Wall

The tissue in this area should appear very vascular but otherwise homogenous in color tending towards reddish pink (Figure 25). The surface may be smooth or appear to have small coral pink to translucent, gelatin-like, homogenous surface prominences which are consistent with normal areas of scattered lymph tissues (lymphoid aggregates). This area, the oropharyngeal area is an extremely high risk area for oral cancer-specifically HPV infection. Asking the patient about difficulty in swallowing, ear pain and any noted enlargements at any time are relevant questions to ask. Pathologic findings include:

  • Homogenous and non-tender erythema associated with post nasal drip and/or smoking
  • Erythema and purulent exudate associated with pharyngitis (infection of the pharynx) may cover portions of the pharyngeal wall
  • Ulcers, erosions or noticeable enlargements or growths
Figure 25. Normal anatomy of the oropharyngeal area.
Normal anatomy of the oropharyngeal area