Tumors of the Parapharyngeal Space
The parapharyngeal space is an imaginary space situated lateral to the pharyngeal tube containing vital neurovascular bundles. It is an inverse triangle where the base is at the skull base, while apex is formed by hyoid bone. This space is strategically situated in the head and neck as tumor starting from the pharyngeal mucosa spreads laterally and this space proves as a barrier to deep spread. Isolation of the tumor base early in this space serves as control for clearance at depth. Figure 6.1 demonstrates the important neurovascular bundles that traverse this space. It essentially contains the carotid artery and branches of external carotid artery and internal jugular vein. Various cranial nerves run along and across this space. Ligation of branches of the external carotid artery and parapharyngeal venous plexus exposes the parapharyngeal space.