The arytenoid cartilage is actually a pair of pyramid-shaped pieces of cartilage found in the larynx (voice box) which are fundamental to the production of vocal sound. They are located on the dorsal side of the larynx above the cricoid lamina. They are two of the nine pieces of cartilage that make up the structure of the larynx, the others being one cricoid, one thyroid, two corniculate, two epiglottal and two cuneiform cartilages. Each arytenoid cartilage has three processes including: The vocal process The vocal process extends anteriorly and is attached to the vocal ligament (vocal cord or 'true' vocal cord). The vocal ligament is one edge of a sheet of elastic connective tissue known as the conus elasticus (cricothyroid membrane), which is connected to the cricoid, the thyroid and the arytenoid cartilages. The muscular process The muscular process extends laterally and is attached to the muscles of phonation which allow the movement of the arytenoid cartilage to adjust the tension of the vocal ligament and thus change sound pitch. The secondary function of the cricoid, thyroid and arytenoid cartilages is to keep the airway through the larynx open allowing air to pass over the vocal cords.
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In Depth: Arytenoid cartilage