The objective of this work is to gain insight in the distortions on the local SAR distribution by various major anatomical structures in the neck. High resolution 3D FDTD calculations based on a variable grid are made for a semi-3D generic phantom based on average dimensions obtained from CT-derived human data and in which simplified structures representing trachea, cartilage, spine and spinal cord are inserted. In addition, phantoms with dimensions equal to maximum and minimum values within the CT-derived data are also studied. In all cases, the phantoms are exposed to a circular coherent array of eight dipoles within a water bolus and driven at 433 MHz. Comparisons of the SAR distributions due to individual structures or a combination of structures are made relative to a cylindrical phantom with muscle properties. The calculations predict a centrally located region of high SAR within all neck phantoms. This focal region, expressed as contours at either 50% or 75% of the peak SAR, changes from a circular cross-section in the case of the muscle phantom to a doughnut shaped region when the anatomical structures are present. The presence of the spine causes the greatest change in the SAR distribution, followed closely by the trachea. Global changes in the mean SAR relative to the uniform phantom are <11%, whilst local changes are as high as 2.7-fold. There is little difference in the focal dimensions between the average and smallest phantoms, but a decrease in the focal region is seen in the case of the largest phantom. This study presents a first step towards understanding of the complex influences of the various parameters on the SAR pattern which will facilitate the design of a site-specific head and neck hyperthermia applicator.