Cricothyroid ligament

The larynx has six different kinds of cartilages: the thyroid, arytenoid, cricoid, corniculate, cuneiform, and epiglottic. The cricothyroid ligament connects the thyroid cartilage with the arch of the cricoid cartilage. Elastic fibers, known as conus elasticus, cover the vocal ligaments and cricoid cartilage. The thyroid cartilage and the hyoid bone are joined by the thyrohyoid membrane. The superior laryngeal artery and superior laryngeal nerve enter the larynx through the opening in this membrane. Cricoid cartilage and thyroid cartilage are joined by the cricothyroid ligament. Articulation is performed by the thyroid and cricoid cartilage with the help of synovial joints, which are moved by the cricothyroid ligament. In the event of an airway obstruction, the cricothyroid ligament and cricothyroid membrane are pierced between the thyroid cartilage and cricoid cartilage to provide an open airway in the larynx. This procedure, called a cricothyrotomy, is easier to perform than a tracheotomy and can be performed by medical personnel without surgical skills. However, the cricothyroid artery is located in the middle of the cricothyroid ligament and must be avoided during this procedure.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Cricothyroid ligament

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