Arytenoid Cartilage

Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 13 December 2020

Arytenoid Cartilage

The cartilage highlighted in yellow is the arytenoid cartilage of the larynx.

The larynx consists of several cartilages, as well as lots of small muscles and a fibroelastic membrane.

There are three pairs of small cartilages, and three large unpaired cartilages.

The large unpaired cartilages include the cricoid cartilage, the thyroid cartilage and the epiglottis.

The small paired cartilages include the arytenoid, the corniculate and the cuneiform cartilages.

The arytenoid cartilages are shaped like little pyramids and consist of three surfaces:

  1. Posterior surface
  2. Antero-lateral surface
  3. Medial surface

The arytenoid cartilage has a broad base which articulates with the cricoid cartilage below, and a pointed apex, upon which the small cone-shaped corniculate cartilage sits.

The base elongates anteriorly to form the vocal process, and the lateral angle forms the muscular process.

The vocal ligament attaches to the vocal process. The muscular process provides the site of attachment for the posterior and lateral crico-arytenoid muscles.

These muscles allow movement of the arytenoid cartilages, which thereby control the tension on the vocal folds and consequently the pitch of one’s voice.

Learn more about the larynx in this tutorial!