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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 the the respiratory tract tract located in the anterior element of the neck. The primary role of the larynx in humans and also other vertebrates is to defend the lower respiratory street from aspirating food right into the trachea while breathing. It also contains the vocal cords and functions together a voice box for creating sounds, i.e., phonation. From a phylogenetic view, the larynx in people has completed its greatest evolutionary development with the capacity to articulate speech, i m sorry is absent in invertebrates and also fishes. The larynx is about 4 to 5cm in length and also width, through a slightly much shorter anterior-posterior diameter. That is smaller in females than men, and also larger in adult than kids owing to its growth in puberty. A large larynx correlates through a depths voice.

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

Structure and also Function

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

The laryngeal skeleton is nine cartilages: the thyroid cartilage, cricoid cartilage, epiglottis, arytenoid cartilages, corniculate cartilages, and also cuneiform cartilages. The first three room unpaired cartilages, and also the latter three space paired cartilages.

The thyroid cartilage features as a protective shield neighboring the anterior component of the larynx and spans vertically native the superior to the worse regions. The is the biggest of all 6 cartilages and also has the type of a half-opened publication with the back facing the front, through the two halves meeting in the middle developing a protrusion referred to as the laryngeal prominence, popularly well-known as Adam’s apple.

The cricoid cartilage is likewise known as the cricoid ring or signet ring together it is the only cartilage to encircle the trachea completely. It sit in the inferior part of the larynx, in ~ the level of C6 vertebra, and also has two parts: the anterior component also referred to as the arch, and the posterior portion, much broader than the anterior, described as the lamina.

The epiglottis is one elastic cartilaginous leaf-shaped flap covering the opening of the larynx. The is attached come the internal surface the the thyroid cartilage and projects over the pharynx, allowing the i of air into the larynx, trachea, and lungs. As the hyoid bone rises, that draws the larynx upwards throughout swallowing to enable food or drink right into the esophagus, and also to prevent food native entering the trachea.

As because that the 2nd set the cartilages, there room three paired cartilages.

Arytenoid cartilages space a pair that small, hard however flexible pyramid-shaped cartilages the sit over the posterior part of the cricoid cartilage. The basic of each cartilage has actually two processes: the anterior edge is the vocal process, and the lateral angle is recognized as the muscular process.

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

The cuneiform cartilages, likewise known as the Wrisberg cartilages, are two elongated fibrous pieces of yellow cartilage inserted one ~ above either side in the aryepiglottic fold. They have no direct attachment to various other cartilages yet serve to assistance the vocal folds and also the lateral aspects of the epiglottis.

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

Larynx Ligaments

There room two species of ligaments: extrinsic ligaments that attach the larynx to other structures such as the hyoid or the trachea, and also 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 v its apex sitting in the middle of the thyroid cartilage, and also its basic in the remarkable border that the cricoid cartilage. The cricocorniculate ligaments space two fibrous bands linking the cricoid cartilage come the Santorini cartilages. The thyroepiglottic ligament associate the thyroid ligament to the epiglottis. The thyroarytenoid ligaments extend from the external component of the arytenoid cartilages come the middle component of the thyroid cartilage and also subdivide into the remarkable ligament the sits beside superior vocal cords, and the worse ligament the sits top top the inferior vocal cords. The arytenoidepiglottic ligaments connect the arytenoid cartilages to the epiglottis.

The extrinsic ligaments space the thyrohyoid, hyoepiglottic and cricotracheal ligaments. The thyrohyoid ligament or membrane attaches the posterior surface of the human body of the hyoid bone and also the top border that the thyroid cartilage. The hyoepiglottic ligament connect the surface of the epiglottis with the upper border that the hyoid bone. The cricotracheal ligament connects the cricoid ligament v the very first ring that the trachea.

Laryngeal Cavity

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

The posterior part of the internal space of the larynx is part of the anterior wall surface of the pharynx and has two vertical recesses referred to as the piriform sinus. The type of the lateral aspects is identified by the larynx cartilages and also consist of 3 parts, a superior one that matches the thyroid cartilage, an worse one that matches the cricoid cartilage, and also a center one referred to as the cricothyroid space. Larynx apex creates a hole that joins to the trachea. The base of the larynx is oval shaped and also communicates through the pharynx.

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

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

The vocal cords are 4 folds that fibro-elastic tissue, two superior and also two worse ones, anteriorly put into the thyroid cartilage, and posteriorly in the arytenoid cartilage. The superior vocal cords space thin, ribbon-shaped, and also have no muscle elements, while inferior vocal cords are more comprehensive and have actually a muscular fascicle covering its whole length. The room between the remarkable vocal cords is larger than the space between the worse vocal cords and also viewed from above; 4 vocal cords are current in the larynx space. The inferior vocal cords space the only ones qualified of approaching each other; thus, they are taken into consideration to be true vocal folds, while the remarkable ones are are referred to as false vocal cords or folds.

The glottis is the section of the laryngeal cavity created by the 4 vocal folds and the opening between the folds.

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

The subglottic section is the space below the glottis and also has an reverse bottleneck shape minimal by the vocal cords and the trachea.

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