The esophagus is the passageway that connects the throat or pharynx to the stomach. Technically, the esophagus begins at the upper esophageal sphincter and ends at the lower esophageal sphincter.
Esophagus, after total laryngectomy (1 of 4)
After total laryngectomy. At the level where larynx was, there is no airway seen. The small air collection (at arrow) is within the reconstructed esophagus, at the level of the neck.
Esophagus, after total laryngectomy (2 of 4)
At the base of neck, the trachea has been sutured forward to neck skin. In this view, the tracheoesophageal prosthesis (TEP) can be seen traversing the shared tracheoesophageal party wall. In this view, the esophagus is very dilated with air.
Esophagus, after total laryngectomy (3 of 4)
Below the tracheostome, the entire trachea is again seen. The horseshoe-shaped anterior segment of the trachea’s wall, two-thirds of the total circumference, is the trachea’s cartilaginous component. The posterior one-third is the membranous trachea, which also constitutes the anterior one-third of the esophagus, and is also called the tracheoesophageal party wall. The esophagus is again dilated with air here.
(1 of 3)
During swallowing, the “the swallowing crescent” -- outlined by the dotted line -- receives swallowed food or liquid in order to funnel it into the esophagus (not open in this view). The asterisks are reference points to compare all three photos. One does not want any material to enter the laryngeal vestibule (hashed lines).
(2 of 3)
A closer view. The esophagus is still not open in this view. Compare asterisk with prior and following photo.