The hyoid bone is situated between the chin and cartilage, near the thyroid. It is also at the base of the mandible. Unlike other bones within the skeleton, the hyoid does not feature any major points of articulation or joining with other bones. The 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 types 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 designations. This bone also provides a place of attachment for many muscles associated with the mouth's floor, as well as the larynx, pharynx, and epiglottis. While the hyoid bone provides protection to these organs, it has been known to fracture. Typically, a broken hyoid results from strangulation.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Hyoid bone