Endoscopic endonasal anatomy of the nasopharynx in a cadaver model


  • Potential conflict of interest: P.H.H. serves as a consultant for Intersect ENT R.R.O. and serves on the scientific advisory board for Entellus Medical as well Medtronic Navigation. A.M.B. has nothing to report.

Correspondence to: Adam M. Becker, MD, Division of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, DUMC 3804, Durham NC 27710; e-mail: adam.becker@duke.edu



Nasopharyngectomy is an accepted treatment for recurrent nasopharyngeal carcinoma following radiation with or without chemotherapy. Traditionally, the nasopharynx has been approached through relatively invasive “open” techniques including transpalatal, maxillary swing, and trans-mandibular-pterygoid approaches. Contemporary management has included the use of endoscopic techniques to exenterate tumors in this location. The purpose of the present study is to describe the endoscopic anatomy of this region through cadaveric dissection and to characterize the technical limitations of the approach.


Five fresh cadaveric heads were dissected to study the endoscopic anatomy of the nasopharynx and associated structures.


Endoscopic dissection of the nasopharynx was completed in all 5 specimens. Nasopharyngeal anatomy including the buccopharyngeal fascia, pharyngobasilar fascia, superior constrictor, longus capitus, longus coli, fossa of Rosenmuller, basisphenoid, auditory torus, and internal carotid artery were characterized.


Surgical access to the nasopharynx has posed significant challenges in the treatment of recurrent or persistent nasopharyngeal carcinoma. This study demonstrated that endoscopic dissection of this region is feasible and has the potential to completely exenterate these lesions.