The larynx (voice box) is one organ located in the anterior neck. The is a ingredient of the respiratory tract tract, and has several vital functions, including phonation, the cough reflex, and also protection that the reduced respiratory tract.

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There are nine cartilages situated within the larynx; 3 unpaired, and six paired. They kind the laryngeal skeleton, which offers rigidity and also stability. In this article, we shall study the anatomy that the laryngeal cartilages.

Unpaired Cartilages

The three unpaired cartilages are the epiglottis, thyroid and cricoid cartilages.

Thyroid Cartilage

The thyroid cartilage is a large, significant structure i m sorry is quickly visible in adult males. That is created of two sheets (laminae), which join anteriorly to type the laryngeal prominence (Adam’s apple).

The posterior border of every sheet project superiorly and inferiorly to form the superior and inferior horns (also well-known as cornu). The exceptional horns are associated to the hyoid bone via the lateral thyrohyoid ligament, while the inferior horns articulate through the cricoid cartilage.

Cricoid Cartilage

The cricoid cartilage is a complete ring the hyaline cartilage, consisting of a broad paper posteriorly and a much narrower arch anteriorly (said come resemble a signet ring in shape).

The cartilage completely encircles the airway, marking the inferior border of the larynx at the level that C6. It articulates through the paired arytenoid cartilages posteriorly, as well as providing an attachment for the worse horns that the thyroid cartilage.

The cricoid is the only complete one of cartilage in the larynx or trachea. This is that clinical relevance throughout emergency intubation – together pressure deserve to be applied to the cricoid to occlude the oesophagus, and also thus prevent regurgitation that gastric components (known together cricoid pressure or Sellick’s manoeuvre).


The epiglottis is a leaf shaped bowl of elastic cartilage which marks the entrance to the larynx. The ‘stalk’ is attached come the ago of the anterior facet of the thyroid cartilage. During swallowing, the epiglottis flattens and moves posteriorly to close turn off the larynx and prevent aspiration.

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Fig 1.0 – structure of the (a) thyroid cartilage and also (b) cricoid cartilage.

Paired Cartilages

There room three combine cartilages – the arytenoid, corniculate and cuneiform. Lock are positioned bilaterally in the larynx.

Arytenoid Cartilages

The arytenoid cartilages room pyramidal shaped structures that sit ~ above the cricoid cartilage. Lock consist of an apex, base, three sides and two processes, and also provides one attachment point for various vital structures in the larynx:

Apex – articulates through the corniculate cartilage.Base – articulates through the superior border the the cricoid cartilage.Vocal process – provides attachment for the vocal ligament.Muscular process – offers attachment because that the posterior and also lateral cricoarytenoid muscles.

Corniculate Cartilages

The corniculate cartilages space minor cartilaginous structures. Lock articulate with the apices that the arytenoid cartilages.

Cuneiform Cartilages

The picture writing cartilages are located within the aryepiglottic folds. They have actually no direct attachment, yet act to strengthen the folds.

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by TeachMeSeries Ltd (2021)

Fig 1.1 – The major cartilages in the laryngeal skeleton.