Hyoepiglottic ligament

The hyoepiglottic ligament is a connective tissue structure located in the neck's sagittal section, specifically in the left half of the larynx. It is an elastic-like band that connects the epiglottis and the hyoid bone. It extends from the epiglottis's anterior surface to the hyoid bone's upper border. The hyoepiglottic ligament protects the preepiglottic and paraglottic spaces, thus separating the tongue base and the supraglottic larynx. It acts as a barrier for the preepiglottic space by blocking the passage that infrequent suprahyoid carcinomas normally travel through. Research shows that the age-related hyoepiglottic ligament changes are associated with the epiglottis's function during respiration and swallowing. These changes tend to lead to obstructive sleep apnea, acquired laryngomalacia (in older individuals), and aspiration. The hyoepiglottic ligament also plays a role in supraglottic cancer. In such cases, either a supra- or subhyoid supraglottic larygotomy or laryngoectomy is required to remove the cancerous cells; in this procedure, the hyoepiglottic ligament is split at its origin.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Hyoepiglottic ligament

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