Characterization of the oropharynx: anatomy, histology, immunology, squamous cell carcinoma and surgical resection
Understanding the structure and function of the oropharynx is paramount for providing excellent patient care. In clinical oncology, the oropharynx is generally divided into four distinct components: (i) the base of the tongue; (ii) the soft palate; (iii) the palatine tonsillar fossa; and (iv) the pharyngeal wall. The oropharyngeal mucosa is distinct from other mucosal surfaces in the body, as it is composed of a reticulated epithelium with a discontinuous basement membrane, also known as lymphoepithelium. This review describes the anatomy, histology, immunology and surgical resection of the oropharynx as they relate to oncological care.