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The upper airway

The upper airway is not the main preoccupation of the pulmonologist. It is often considered simply as a passageway for the fiberoptic bronchoscopist, and cannot be explored with the rigid bronchoscope. Inspection of this area, however, is a mandatory phase of any fiberoptic endoscopic procedure.

One must traverse in succession :

The nasopharynx (sphenoethmoidal recess, posterior nasal septum, nasal turbinates, torus tubarius, Rosenmüller’s fossae, Eustachian tube orifice) and the oropharynx (the soft palate, the uvula, the base of the tongue, the tonsils)

Subsequently we explore :

The laryngopharynx (epiglottis, aryepiglottic folds, false vocal cords, true vocal cords, arytenoids, pyriform sinus and concealed areas at the base of the tongue, posterior aspect of the cricoid, and the subglottic area).
This zone is the passageway for the rigid bronchoscope. We shall see later the importance of all thoses landmarks for the intubation technique.

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