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Hyoid Bone
Skeletal System

Hyoid Bone

Os hyoideum

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Quick Facts

Location: Neck.

Bone Type: Irregular bone.

Key Features: Body, greater horns, lesser horns, anterior and posterior surfaces, superior and inferior borders, and tubercles of hyoid bone.

Articulates With: None.

Arterial Supply: Suprahyoid branch of lingual artery and infrahyoid branch of superior thyroid artery.

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Key Features & Anatomical Relations

The hyoid bone is the U-shaped, single bone found along the midline on the anterior aspect of the neck. It is located at the level of the third cervical vertebra, classified as an irregular bone, and includes the following bony features:

- parts: body, greater horns, and lesser horns;

- surfaces: anterior and posterior surfaces, and superior and inferior borders;

- landmarks: tubercles of hyoid bone.

More information regarding these and other bony features can be found in the Parts, Surfaces, and Landmarks tabs for this bone.

The hyoid bone is located:

- inferior to the mandible;

- superior to the larynx.

It does not articulate with any other bone, but instead serves as an attachment site for many muscles and ligaments, which keep it suspended in the neck.


Ossification of the hyoid bone occurs at six ossification centers, these are found in the:

- body of the hyoid bone, two centers found here that appear before birth;

- right and left greater horns, one center found in each that appear before birth;

- right and left lesser horns, one center found in each that appear during puberty.

The ossification centers for the hyoid bone fuse with each other during adulthood (Standring, 2016).


In some individuals:

- some parts of the hyoid bone may not fuse with others (Gok, Kafa and Fedakar, 2012);

- the lesser horns may be absent (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).

Surface Anatomy

The hyoid bone can be palpated on the anterior aspect of the neck, superior to the thyroid cartilage.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Fracture

- Dislocation


Gok, E., Kafa, I. M. and Fedakar, R. (2012) 'Unusual variation of the hyoid bone: bilateral absence of lesser cornua and abnormal bone attachment to the corpus', Surg Radiol Anat, 34(6), pp. 567-9.

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

Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. and Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Hyoid Bone

ScienceDirect image

This refers to the upper half of the hyoid bone with the muscles coming from the mandible (geniohyoid, mylohyoid) and the styloid process (stylohyoid, digastric).

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