Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Vocal Fold
Respiratory System

Vocal Fold

Plica vocalis

Read more


The vocal folds are formed from the vocal ligament, the free superior margin of the conus elasticus (a portion of the cricothyroid membrane). It extends from the internal surface of the thyroid cartilage to the vocal process of the arytenoid cartilages.

The vocal ligament is covered by a layer of mucosa. The combination of the ligament, mucosa, and underlying muscular components (vocalis muscle) form the vocal fold or vocal cord.

The female vocal folds are approximately 60% shorter than the male vocal folds, thus a female’s voice is typically higher-pitched. Additionally, the folds tend to be 20–30% thinner than male vocal folds (Titze, 1987).

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free

Key Features/Anatomical Relations

The vocal folds lie on each side of an opening called the rima glottis. The vocal folds meet at the anterior commissure and are attached to the thyroid cartilage. This point is sometimes referred to Broyles ligament. It contains lymphatics and blood vessels, and it is a site through which malignancies of the larynx may spread.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Laryngeal carcinoma

- Reinke’s edema

- Vocal cord nodules


Titze, I. R. (1987) 'Physiology of the female larynx', The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 82(S1), pp. S90-S91.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Vocal Folds

ScienceDirect image

Within each vocal fold is a band of highly elastic connective tissue that is suspended between the thyroid and arytenoid cartilages.

Explore on ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy