The thyroid cartilage, also known as the Adam's apple, is the largest and uppermost of nine cartilages in the larynx, or voice box. It houses the vocal folds, commonly called the vocal cords. The thyroid cartilage is composed of two plates, called laminae, that join in the front at an angle of 90 to 120 degrees. The protrusion it creates, visible on the front of the neck, is generally more prominent in men because of a more acute angle in males. The thyroid cartilage typically grows larger during the teenage years, especially in boys, and is seen as a secondary sexual characteristic. Despite its name, the thyroid cartilage has nothing to do with the thyroid or its processes. It plays a role in the production of the human voice, providing protection and support for the vocal folds. The muscles of the larynx act on skeletal structures, including the thyroid cartilage, to produce the vibration of the vocal folds that is necessary to vocalization.
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In Depth: Thyroid cartilage