Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Swollen Tongue Anatomy

To better understand mouth or tongue swelling, 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: Nov 4, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Swollen Tongue References
  1. Byrd JB, Adam A, Brown NJ. Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor-associated angioedema. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2006 Nov;26(4):725-37. [17085287]
  2. Greenberger PA. Idiopathic anaphylaxis. Immunol Allergy Clin North Am. 2007 May;27(2):273-93, vii-viii. [17493503]
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