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Cricothyroid Membrane
Respiratory System

Cricothyroid Membrane

Membrana cricothyroideus

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Description

The cricothyroid membrane connects the cricoid cartilage to the thyroid cartilage. It attaches inferiorly to the superior margin of the cricoid arch and lamina and extends to the internal surface of the thyroid cartilage.

Often the cricothyroid membrane is described as having three portions, a median portion which is termed the median cricothyroid ligament, and the laterally placed portions termed the conus elasticus.

The median cricothyroid ligament is a thickened region of the cricothyroid ligament. It connects the superior margin of the cricoid arch to the inferior margin of the thyroid cartilage and extends upward on the internal surface of the thyroid cartilage. The conus elasticus lies lateral to the median cricothyroid ligament. As its name implies, the conus elasticus it is elastic in nature and is funnel shaped. It functions to maximize airflow from the trachea to the rima glottidis when speaking. The superior margin of the conus elasticus is free and forms the vocal ligament, the base of the vocal fold.

The terminology surrounding the cricothyroid membrane and the conus elasticus varies considerably and other terms such as cricovocal membrane may also be used when describing the conus elasticus.

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