Anatomy of the Larynx

  • The larynx is composed of a number of cartilaginous structures, muscles and ligaments which maintain the patency of the airway and hold the vocal cords under tension during speech.
  • The large thyroid cartilage, which lies beneath the thyroid gland, is connected to the hyoid bone by a strong ligament (thyrohyoid ligament), and the epiglottis arises from its internal surface. All internal structures with the exception of the vocal cords are covered by a pink mucosal lining.
  • The small cartilages to which the vocal cords are attached are moved by tiny muscles under the control of the recurrent, superior and inferior laryngeal nerves. These muscles make small adjustments in the opening between the cords, allowing different pitches of sound to be created.

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