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In Anatomy, what is an Aditus?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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The aditus is a medical term that refers to an opening or entrance in a body cavity or some other interior space within the body. This term is primarily used in the study of human anatomy. An aditus often serves as a connection point between different body parts. There are several areas of the body which contain this type of opening, each serving different functions.

The laryngeal aditus works to connect the pharynx and the larynx. This particular aditus is important since it works, along with other organs of the body, to prevent both food and air from passing through the opening at the same time. The epiglottis works closely with the laryngeal aditus, as it helps to open and close this entrance as necessary to aid in the passage of food during the early portion of the digestive process without inhibiting the process of breathing. Other names for this particular aditus include the laryngeal inlet or the laryngeal aperture.

The aditus ad antrum mastoideum is the medical term for another type of aditus. It refers to the opening between the epitympanic recess and the mastoid antrum. The epitympanic recess is located in the middle ear and is a frequent location for inflammation and infection involving this area of the ear. It is often considered to be the roof of the tympanic cavity,a basically hollow portion of the skull. The mastoid antrum, also called the tympanic antrum, is a separate cavity located in the temporal area of the skull.

The mastoid antrum, along with the mastoid air cells, are lined with a mucus membrane. This membrane continues, also lining the tympanic cavity. This part of the middle ear is responsible for communicating with the mastoid sinuses as well as the aforementioned epitympanic recess. With the exception of the associated mucus membrane, the tympanic cavity is primarily an empty air space. It is for this reason that middle ear infections develop easily in some people. Massive inflammation is possible in this area, and medical treatment is often required.

The omental foramen was once considered an aditus. This term has since fallen out of favor for this area of the body. A foramen is basically a passageway for communication from one body part to another. In this case, the omental foramen acts as a passage between the primary cavity of the abdomen and the omental bursa. Since it is used more for communication than as a connecting opening, it is no longer considered an aditus by the medical community.

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Discussion Comments
By cloudel — On Feb 15, 2012

I guess the laryngeal aditus must open up when we laugh, because that is when I tend to choke on food. It “goes down the wrong way,” as my mother likes to say.

I hate eating with my friends who are being funny at the time, because I know that it will cause problems for me. It is really painful to have a mouth full of food and suddenly get tickled, because it's like inhaling your food.

It has been so bad before that I actually had to have someone do the Heimlich maneuver on me. After that, I avoided going to restaurants with people who tend to make me laugh.

By Oceana — On Feb 14, 2012

@golf07 – It's too bad that the ear has that aditus. Otherwise, bacteria might be unable to get into certain parts and infect them!

I have suffered from many middle ear infections, and most were due to sinus problems. I have severe allergies, and this causes me to get sinus infections. My eustachian tube swells up, and the mucus cannot drain out like it's supposed to, so my ear gets infected.

It makes me wish that there was an extra aditus in the area! Maybe then, my blocked tube could get some relief. Earaches are the worst, and I always end up going to my doctor after I get one.

By golf07 — On Feb 14, 2012

@honeybees - I am sure the term aditus is not something most people would be familiar with.

The only reason I have heard of this term before is because my son suffered from many ear infections when he was growing up.

I became quite familiar with the ears along with the terms and body parts that affected them. My sons ear, nose and throat doctor would frequently refer to the aditus when he was explaining why ear infections were so common in babies and young children.

It's funny what things you remember and how other things just go in one ear and out the other. For some reason the word aditus was one that always stuck in my mind.

By honeybees — On Feb 13, 2012

When I was going to school to become a physical therapist, we spent one entire summer in an anatomy class.

This was a very extensive and hard class and I was glad I didn't have to worry about studying for other classes at the same time I was taking this.

I remember the term aditus and even though it has been many years, I still remember the different parts of the body that are connected by an aditus.

If it wasn't for this class I took in college, I would have no idea what this term referred to. In all my years of being a physical therapist, I don't remember ever using this term but you never know when it might come in handy.

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