Arytenoid cartilage

The arytenoid cartilages are paired hyaline cartilages that articulate with the sloping upper border of the lamina of the cricoid cartilage by the cricoarytenoid joint. This joint allows movement of the arytenoid cartilages, which is vital in approximating, tensing and relaxing the vocal folds.

Gross anatomy

Each cartilage is pyramidal in shape and has three projections or processes:

  • vocal process: forward projection that attaches to the vocal fold
  • muscular process: lateral projection attaches to the posterior and lateral cricoarytenoid muscles
  • superior process: superior projection articulates with the very small corniculate cartilage, to which the aryepiglottic fold is attached

Slightly anteriorly to the arytenoid cartilages sit the paired cuneiform cartilages, which lie within the aryepiglottic fold.

History and etymology

The word  'arytenoid' derives from the greek word meaning ladle-shaped. 

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 44577
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Arytenoid cartilages

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: larynx: illustration
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