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StatPearls . Sweetheart Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-.


Anatomy, Head and also Neck, Larynx

Juan Suárez-Quintanilla; Alejandro Fernández Cabrera; Sandeep Sharma.

Author Information

AuthorsJuan Suárez-Quintanilla1; Alejandro Fernández Cabrera2; Sandeep Sharma3.



The larynx is a cartilaginous segment of the respiratory tract tract located in the anterior aspect of the neck. The primary role of the larynx in humans and other vertebrates is to protect the reduced respiratory tract from aspirating food into the trachea when breathing. It additionally contains the vocal cords and also functions as a voice crate for developing sounds, i.e., phonation. From a phylogenetic view, the larynx in humans has achieved its highest possible evolutionary advancement with the capacity to articulate speech, i beg your pardon is lacking in invertebrates and also fishes. The larynx is about 4 to 5cm in length and width, with a slightly shorter anterior-posterior diameter. It is smaller sized in women than men, and also larger in adult than kids owing to its growth in puberty. A large larynx correlates through a deeper voice.

The place of the larynx is at the level the the C3 come C7 vertebrae and is held into place by muscles and also ligaments. The superior-most an ar of the larynx is the epiglottis the is attached come the hyoid bone connected to the inferior component of the pharynx. The inferior element of the larynx connects to the superior an ar of the trachea.

Structure and Function

The larynx is a cartilaginous skeleton, some ligaments, and also muscles that move and stabilize it and also a mucous membrane.

The laryngeal skeleton is ripe cartilages: the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, epiglottis, arytenoid cartilages, corniculate cartilages, and also cuneiform cartilages. The very first three room unpaired cartilages, and the last three are paired cartilages.

The thyroid cartilage features as a safety shield neighboring the anterior component of the larynx and also spans vertically native the superior to the worse regions. The is the biggest of all six cartilages and has the form of a half-opened book with the earlier facing the front, v the 2 halves meeting in the middle developing a protrusion called the laryngeal prominence, popularly recognized as Adam’s apple.

The cricoid cartilage is additionally known as the cricoid ring or signet ring together it is the only cartilage come encircle the trachea completely. It sits in the inferior component of the larynx, in ~ the level that C6 vertebra, and has two parts: the anterior component also called the arch, and the posterior portion, much wider than the anterior, referred to as the lamina.

The epiglottis is an elastic cartilaginous leaf-shaped flap spanning the opening of the larynx. That is attached to the inner surface that the thyroid cartilage and projects over the pharynx, allowing the i of air right into the larynx, trachea, and also lungs. Together the hyoid bone rises, the draws the larynx upwards throughout swallowing to permit food or drink into the esophagus, and also to stop food from entering the trachea.

As for the second set the cartilages, there room three paired cartilages.

Arytenoid cartilages space a pair the small, hard but flexible pyramid-shaped cartilages the sit end the posterior portion of the cricoid cartilage. The basic of each cartilage has actually two processes: the anterior angle is the vocal process, and also the lateral angle is known as the muscular process.

The corniculate cartilages or cartilages of Santorini are little elastic cone-shaped cartilages that articulate v the apices of the arytenoid cartilages.

The picture writing cartilages, additionally known as the Wrisberg cartilages, space two elongated fibrous pieces of yellow cartilage put one top top either next in the aryepiglottic fold. They have no direct attachment to various other cartilages but serve to support the vocal folds and the lateral aspects of the epiglottis.

The laryngeal cartilages move thanks to several joints between them. The cricothyroid joint connects the thyroid cartilage come the cricoid arch. The cricoarytenoid joints affix each arytenoid cartilage come the cricoid cartilage, and the arycorniculate share connects the arytenoid cartilages to the Santorini cartilages.

Larynx Ligaments

There room two species of ligaments: extrinsic ligaments that connect the larynx to various other structures such as the hyoid or the trachea, and the intrinsic ligaments that connect the larynx cartilages in between them.

The intrinsic ligaments are the cricothyroid, cricocorniculate, thyroepiglottic, thyroarytenoid, and also the arytenoidepiglottic ligaments. The cricothyroid ligament or cricothyroid membrane is pyramid-shaped through its apex sit in the center of the thyroid cartilage, and its basic in the remarkable border of the cricoid cartilage. The cricocorniculate ligaments are two fibrous bands linking the cricoid cartilage to the Santorini cartilages. The thyroepiglottic ligament associate the thyroid ligament come the epiglottis. The thyroarytenoid ligaments prolong from the external part of the arytenoid cartilages come the middle part of the thyroid cartilage and also subdivide into the remarkable ligament the sits beside superior vocal cords, and the inferior ligament the sits top top the inferior vocal cords. The arytenoidepiglottic ligaments attach the arytenoid cartilages to the epiglottis.

The extrinsic ligaments room the thyrohyoid, hyoepiglottic and cricotracheal ligaments. The thyrohyoid ligament or membrane attaches the posterior surface ar of the body of the hyoid bone and the top border of the thyroid cartilage. The hyoepiglottic ligament connect the surface ar of the epiglottis through the top border that the hyoid bone. The cricotracheal ligament connect the cricoid ligament through the an initial ring that the trachea.

Laryngeal Cavity

The internal space of the larynx extends along the laryngeal inlet to the reduced border the the cricoid cartilage. It is pyramid shaped v its remarkable base pointing to the tongue and also its apex come the trachea. It has actually a base, one apex, and three parts, one posterior and also two laterals.       

The posterior component of the internal space of the larynx is part of the anterior wall surface of the pharynx and also has 2 vertical recesses referred to as the piriform sinus. The form of the lateral elements is identified by the larynx cartilages and also consist of 3 parts, a remarkable one the matches the thyroid cartilage, an worse one that matches the cricoid cartilage, and also a center one called the cricothyroid space. Larynx apex forms a hole that joins come the trachea. The base of the larynx is oval shaped and communicates v the pharynx.

The internal space of the larynx is wide in the superior and also inferior parts however narrows in the middle, forming a section named glottis, and also dividing every the spaces right into three sections: supraglottic, glottis, and infraglottic.

The vocal cords, the glottis, and also the larynx ventricles make up the glottic space.

The vocal cords are 4 folds that fibro-elastic tissue, 2 superior and also two inferior ones, anteriorly placed into the thyroid cartilage, and also posteriorly in the arytenoid cartilage. The superior vocal cords room thin, ribbon-shaped, and have no muscle elements, while worse vocal cords are broader and have actually a muscular fascicle spanning its entire length. The an are between the superior vocal cords is bigger than the room between the worse vocal cords and also viewed indigenous above; 4 vocal cords are existing in the larynx space. The inferior vocal cords space the only ones qualified of approaching every other; thus, they are considered to it is in true vocal folds, when the exceptional ones room are described as false vocal cords or folds.

The glottis is the portion of the laryngeal cavity developed by the four vocal folds and the opening in between the folds.

The laryngeal ventricles or Morgagni sinus room a fusiform fossa situated between the superior (true vocal folds) and the inferior vocal cords (vestibular folds).

The subglottic ar is the room below the glottis and also has an turning back bottleneck shape restricted by the vocal cords and the trachea.

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The supraglottic section develops an oval cavity, extending along the complimentary edge the the epiglottis and the aryepiglottic folds down to the arytenoid cartilages, the hyoepiglottic ligament is usually thought about the roof of this cavity.