Arytenoid: A Small But Important Part of the Larynx

    Arytenoid: A Small But Important Part of the Larynx

    The word arytenoid comes from the Greek words arutaina, meaning “ladle” or “pitcher”, and -oeidēs, meaning “like” or “oid”. It refers to the shape of two small cartilages that are located on top of the cricoid cartilage at the back of the larynx, or voice box. The arytenoid cartilages are attached to the vocal cords and help to control their tension and position. They also have muscles and glands associated with them.

    The arytenoid cartilages are involved in various functions of the larynx, such as phonation, respiration, and swallowing. They can rotate, slide, and tilt to adjust the length, width, and shape of the glottis, which is the opening between the vocal cords. By doing so, they can change the pitch, loudness, and quality of the voice. They also help to close the glottis during coughing, sneezing, and swallowing to prevent food or liquids from entering the airway.

    The arytenoid cartilages are sometimes affected by diseases or injuries that can impair their movement or position. For example, laryngeal cancer, vocal cord paralysis, laryngeal trauma, rheumatoid arthritis, or infection can cause arytenoid dislocation, inflammation, or swelling. This can result in hoarseness, voice changes, breathing difficulties, or swallowing problems. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, treatment options may include medication, surgery, voice therapy, or injection of fillers.

    The arytenoid cartilages are small but important structures that play a vital role in the production and protection of the voice. They are shaped like ladles or pitchers and are located at the back of the larynx. They help to adjust the vocal cords and close the glottis for various functions of the larynx.

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    The larynx is a complex organ that consists of several cartilages, muscles, ligaments, and membranes. The largest and most prominent cartilage is the thyroid cartilage, which forms the Adam’s apple. The cricoid cartilage is a ring-shaped cartilage that lies below the thyroid cartilage and connects the larynx to the trachea, or windpipe. The epiglottis is a leaf-shaped cartilage that covers the entrance of the larynx during swallowing. The arytenoid cartilages are two small, ladle-shaped cartilages that sit on top of the cricoid cartilage and attach to the vocal cords.

    The vocal cords are two folds of mucous membrane that stretch across the larynx. They vibrate when air passes through them, producing sound. The pitch of the sound depends on the length and tension of the vocal cords, which are controlled by the arytenoid cartilages and various muscles. The loudness of the sound depends on the amount of air pressure and airflow. The quality of the sound depends on the shape and size of the glottis, which is also influenced by the arytenoid cartilages and muscles.

    The glottis is the space between the vocal cords. It can be open, closed, or narrowed depending on the position and movement of the arytenoid cartilages. When the glottis is open, air can pass freely through the larynx, allowing breathing and voiceless sounds. When the glottis is closed, no air can pass through the larynx, allowing coughing, sneezing, and swallowing. When the glottis is narrowed, air can pass through the larynx with some resistance, allowing voiced sounds.

    Hi, I’m Adam Smith

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