The Esophagus

The esophagus is a 25‐cm (10‐inch) long tube that begins at the laryngopharynx and descends behind the trachea through the mediastinum (cavity between the lungs). It then passes through the diaphragm at an opening called the esophageal hiatus. It then turns just a bit to the left and connects to the stomach.

Food is forced through the esophagus toward the stomach by peristalsis. Two sphincter muscles, the upper esophageal sphincter at the top of the esophagus and the lower esophageal sphincter at the bottom of the esophagus, control the movement of food into and out of the esophagus.