Laryngeal Cartilages

The larynx consists of nine laryngeal cartilages: three are single (epiglottic, thyroid, cricoid) and three are paired (arytenoid, corniculate, and cuneiform).

  • Thyroid:
    • Largest of the cartilages
    • It is composed of two plate-like laminae that fuse on the anterior side of the cartilage to form a peak, called the laryngeal prominence, known as the Adam’s apple.
    • Its posterior border is elongated both inferiorly and superiorly to form the superior horn of thyroid cartilage and inferior horn of thyroid cartilage.
  • Cricoid:
    • Only laryngeal cartilage to form a complete ring
  • Epiglottic cartilage:
    • Consists of elastic cartilage, giving flexibility to the epiglottis
    • Almost entirely covered in mucosa
    • Its stalk projects superiorly and attaches to the posterior aspect of the tongue, so that during swallowing the epiglottis will move to cover the respiratory opening, thus keeping food out of the lower respiratory tubules
  • Arytenoid:
    • Pyramid shaped
    • Anchor the vocal cords
  • Corniculate:
    • Attach to the apices of the arytenoid cartilages
  • Cuneiform:
    • Do not directly attach to other cartilages

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