The thyrohyoid membrane is a wide and fibrous layer that connects the cartilage of the thyroid to the hyoid bone. It also intersects with the inner branches of the superior laryngeal nerve at its thinner lateral portions. The thyrohyoid membrane creates the conditions necessary for the upward movement of the larynx during deglutition. It coats interval near the origin of the middle constrictor muscle, which provides the connection space between the larynx and the internal laryngeal nerve and artery. The middle thicker part of the membrane is called the middle hypothyroid ligament. The membrane's anterior surface relates with the omohyoideus, thyreohyoideus, and sternohyoideus muscles. If a neck cancer penetrates the thyroid cartilage or the thyrohyoid membrane, it may result in a spreading of the tumor from the laryngeal area into the soft neck tissues. If a cancer deeply invades the paraglottic area it will not face any more barriers to vertical spread through the larynx, which may drastically reduce the effectiveness of horizontal supraglottic laryngectomy.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Thyrohyoid membrane