True vocal cords

The true vocal cords are the thickened, free edge of the cricovocal membrane, the cricovocal ligament, lined by mucous membrane 1. Together they form part of the glottis, the V-shaped aperture through which air passes. Their primary role is in phonation where vibration of the adducted vocal cords gives rise to sound waves with a certain pitch.  

The cricovocal membrane, also known as conus elasticus, extends upwards from a semicircular base following the contours of the cricoid cartilage to form a horizontal upper border attached in the midline to thyroid cartilage and posteriorly to the vocal process of the arytenoid cartilage 1. This free edge between the thyroid laminae and the arytenoid cartilage is thickened as the cricovocal ligament 1.

Stratified squamous epithelium lines the vocal folds. The lamina propria is very firmly attached over the vocal cords.

Related pathology

Anatomy: Head and neck

Anatomy: Head and neck

Article information

rID: 47010
System: Head & Neck
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • vocal fold
  • vocal folds
  • vocal cord

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