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Irina Münstermann

Compartments and spaces of the neck (English)

Compartments and spaces of the neck (English)

The visceral compartment of the neck is surrounded by the visceral cervical fascia, specifically the pretracheal fascia anterolaterally and buccopharyngeal fascia posteriorly. It extends from the superior part of the hyoid bone superiorly to the superior mediastinum inferiorly. It is the most anteriorly located compartment of the neck. Posterior to the visceral compartment is the large vertebral compartment of the neck. This compartment is surrounded posterolaterally by prevertebral fascia and anteriorly by alar fascia. It is attached superiorly as a continuous circle from the base of the skull and extends to the superior mediastinum inferiorly.The paired vascular compartments (a.k.a. carotid spaces), formed by the carotid sheaths, house the large vascular channels of the neck (common carotid artery, internal jugular vein). Each vascular compartment extends from the base of the skull to the aortic arch within the thoracic cavity. Between the investing layer of cervical fascia and pretracheal fascia is the most anteriorly located fascial space, the pretracheal space. It extends from the thyroid cartilage superiorly to reach the superior mediastinum inferiorly. The buccopharyngeal fascia together with the carotid sheath and alar fascia of the deep layer of deep cervical fascia form a fat filled space known as the retropharyngeal space. The danger space which lies between the alar and prevertebral fascia is located just anterior to the cervical vertebral bodies and spans from the base of the skull to the posterior mediastinum where the prevertebral layers of deep cervical fascia fuse. The danger space is so called as its loose areolar tissue provides a route of passage for the rapid down spread of infection from the neck to the thoracic region. The retropharyngeal and danger spaces extend from the base of the skull superiorly to the posterior mediastinum inferiorly.
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