Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Mouth Lesion Anatomy

To better understand oral lesions, it helps to understand the anatomy of the mouth and throat.

The back of throat is also referred to as the pharynx. More specifically, the pharynx is the back, upper part of the throat behind the tongue. It starts at the base of the tongue and ends at the larynx.

Anatomy examples:

  • Normal pharynx in an adult
  • Normal pharynx in a child
  • Normal tongue

The tonsils are collections of lymphoid tissue in the back of the throat. They are located on both sides of the throat, near the base of the tongue. The tonsils generally shrink over time. At puberty, the tonsils are normally about the size of an almond.

Anatomy examples:
  • Normal anatomy of the pharynx
  • Normal tonsils in a child

Last Updated: Mar 26, 2009 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Mouth Lesion References
  1. Noonan VL, Kabani S. Diagnosis and management of suspicious lesions of the oral cavity. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2005 Feb;38(1):21-35, vii. [15649496]
  2. Shulman JD. Prevalence of oral mucosal lesions in children and youths in the USA. Int J Paediatr Dent. 2005 Mar;15(2):89-97. [15790365]
  3. Trobs RB, Mader E, Friedrich T, Bennek J. Oral tumors and tumor-like lesions in infants and children. Pediatr Surg Int. 2003 Nov;19(9-10):639-45. [14600772]
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