Tumors of the Oropharynx
The oropharynx is one of the most complex anatomical sites in the head and neck region. It consists of various subsites – base of the tongue (BOT), tonsil, soft palate, and pharyngeal wall (Fig. 9.1). Tumor in each of these subsites has different biology but is grouped as one in majority of the head and neck studies. The oropharynx forms the lateral envelops in posterior aspect of the oral cavity and is very important for swallowing function. The base of the tongue is the most inferior structure and is in close relation to the hyoid bone inferomedially and lateral pharyngeal wall and tonsil laterally. The tonsil occupies lateral position and is connected inferiorly to BOT and superiorly to the soft palate. It is separated from the medial pterygoid muscle from a fascia, and this plane can be exposed to resect early oropharyngeal lesions. The soft palate hangs on top of the pharynx inlet and is important in speech and swallowing.