Hyoid bone

The hyoid bone is located between the chin and the thyroid cartilage. It is also at the base of the mandible, or lower jawbone. Unlike other bones within the skeleton, the hyoid does not feature any major points of articulation (joints) with other bones.

The hyoid bone can be divided into three component parts: the body of the hyoid, the greater cornua, and the lesser cornua. The body of the hyoid is centrally located, while the cornua are on both sides. The lesser cornua are small conical projections oriented upwards. The greater cornua extends backwards from the body of the hyoid. Since cornua come in pairs, the greater and lesser cornua can be differentiated into left and right sections.

This bone also provides a place of attachment for many muscles associated with the mouth's floor, as well as the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), and epiglottis (flap of tissue located at the top of the larynx). While the hyoid bone provides protection to these organs, it can be fractured if exposed to excessive forces. Typically, a broken hyoid results from forced strangulation (i.e. choking).

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Hyoid bone

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