The cricoid cartilage is a ring of cartilage enveloped around the trachea. It is a strong connective tissue constituting the dorsal part of the larynx. It is placed slightly below the thyroid cartilage, which it connects through the medial cricothyroid ligament. It joins the first tracheal ring through the cricotracheal ligament. The thyroid gland has an anatomical relationship with this cartilage. The gland's two lobes extend above on either sides of the cricoid, but the thyroid isthmus is placed below it. The lateral and anterior portions of this cartilage are slightly narrower than the posterior portion. The primary role of the cricoids is to provide connectivity for different ligaments, cartilages, and muscles that facilitate the opening and shutting of the air passage and the production of sound. The cricoid cartilage is composed of hyaline, which is soft and flexible in the beginning. However, it calcifies and hardens as it progresses in age. The cartilage may be surgically removed in cases where it becomes necessary to clear tracheal blockages.
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In Depth: Cricoid cartilage