upper esophageal sphincter

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upper esophageal sphincter

the upper 3 to 5 cm of the esophagus, including the cricopharyngeus muscle, which prevents the aspiration of air from the pharynx esophagus.

upper esophageal sphincter

A sphincter that keeps the opening between the posterior pharynx and the proximal esophagus closed, except during swallowing. It is maintained principally by the cricopharyngeal muscle.
See also: sphincter