The esophagus is a muscular tube which attaches pharynx together with the stomach and is 25 cm long. Between trachea and vertebral column, the esophagus is kept failed anteroposteriorly. It expands only when bolus of food goes through it.
- The esophagus starts as an extension of pharynx at the lower border of cricoid cartilage opposite the lower border of C6 vertebra.
- It enters downwards in front of the vertebral column behind trachea, traverses superior and posterior mediastina of thorax passes through the esophageal opening of the diaphragm and ends at the cardiac orifice of the stomach in the abdomen about 2.5 cm to the left of the median plane.
- The esophagus is splitted into 3 parts: cervical, thoracic and abdominal.
- The pharyngoesophageal junction is the narrowest part of the digestive tube with the exception of that of the vermiform appendix.
Cervical Part of the Esophagus
It stretches from the lower border of cricoid cartilage to the superior border of manubrium sterni. It inclines somewhat to the left as it descends but starts in the midline.
Relationships of the Cervical Part of the Esophagus
Anteriorly, it’s related to:
- Trachea and
- recurrent laryngeal nerve
Posteriorly, it’s related to:
- prevertebral fascia
- longus colli muscles
- vertebral column
The prevertebral layer of deep cervical fascia creates a movable base on which the trachea and esophagus move up and down during swallowing and phonation.
On every side, it’s related to:
- lobe of the thyroid gland
- common carotid artery and
- thoracic duct on the left side
Blood Supply and Lymphatic Drainage
- The cervical part of the esophagus is supplied by the inferior thyroid arteries.
- The veins from using this part drain into inferior thyroid veins and left brachiocephalic vein.
- The lymph vessels from the cervical part of esophagus drain into pretracheal and deep cervical lymph nodes.
The left margin of the esophagus projects laterally from behind the trachea in the region of the neck. Thus the cervical part of esophagus can be marshalled and exposed surgically more easily from the left side.
The inner part of the esophagus can be examined in vivo by esophagoscope. This process helps to get tissue biopsy or removal of swallowed foreign body.