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Posterior Cricoarytenoid Muscle
Muscular System

Posterior Cricoarytenoid Muscle

Musculus cricoarytenoideus posterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Cricoid lamina of cricoid cartilage.

Insertion: Muscular process of arytenoid cartilage.

Action: Abducts vocal folds.

Innervation: Recurrent laryngeal nerve (CN X).

Arterial Supply: Superior and inferior thyroid arteries.

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The posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, as its name suggests, sits on the posterior aspect of the larynx and arises from the posterior part of the cricoid lamina.


The posterior cricoarytenoid muscle courses superiorly and attaches to the muscular process of the arytenoid cartilages on the same side.


The posterior cricoarytenoid is the only muscle to abduct the vocal folds to open the rima glottidis. It also assists in the lengthening of the vocal folds (Standring, 2016).


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edn.: Elsevier Limited.

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Posterior Cricoarytenoid Muscle

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The posterior cricoarytenoid muscle is the only abductor muscle of the larynx.

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