False vocal cords

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 21 Feb 2024

The false vocal cords (vestibular folds, ventricular folds, ventricular bands) are paired shelf-like structures located within the supraglottic larynx that divide the laryngeal vestibule above from the laryngeal ventricle below. They function to protect the airway and play very little if any part in phonation.

Gross anatomy

The quadrangular membrane is a paired membrane that extends from the anterolateral surface of the arytenoid cartilage to the lateral edge of the epiglottis on either side 1,4. It has a superior and inferior free edge. The superior free edge with the overlying mucosa forms the aryepigottic fold, while the thickened inferior free edge forms the vestibular ligament 4. The vestibular ligament with the overlying mucosa forms the false vocal cord.

On direct laryngoscopy, the false vocal cords are pink prominences visualized supero-lateral to the true vocal cords 1. The luminal space directly between the vestibular folds is termed the rima vestibuli 2.

Relations
  • superior: laryngeal vestibule

  • medial: rima vestibuli

  • inferior: laryngeal ventricle

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: larynx coronal CT anatomy
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  • Figure 2: larynx coronal CT anatomy
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  • Figure 3: vocal cords (Gray's illustration)
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  • Figure 4: laryngeal muscles (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 5: larynx (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 6: larynx (Gray's illustrations)
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