Anatomy of the vocal folds

laryngeal musculature.jpg As can be seen in Figure 4.4 of your textbook (page 73) the vocal folds converge in the front of the thyroid cartilage, diverge posteriorly, and attach to the sides of the arytenoid cartileges. The vocal folds' tension and elastic can be changed--they can be made thicker, thinnner, shorter/longer, widely separated, or brought together. They can also be elevated or depressed. This can all be accomplished by the laryngeal muscles, which you saw on the previous page and can see on the Netter slide here.

from Netter, F. (2010) Atlas of Human Anatomy 5, Saunder.)


Note that you will not have to know the names and functions of all laryngeal muscles for the exam. The muscles that you should know for the exam are those that are highlighted in the notes. For example, the crichthyroid muscle plays a large role in increasing frequency. Generally, the Netter slides are here for your review, to help you visualize the physiology of laryngeal movement.


The glottis is the space between the vocal folds. The size of the glottis is determined by the configuration of the vocal folds. Glottal size is increased through vocal fold abduction, and decreased through adduction.


The false vocal folds

The false vocal folds (or ventricular folds) are located superiorly to the true vocal folds. You can see a picture of these on page 72 of your textbook, figure 4.2. They are incapable of adducting. They do move with the arytenoids, but do not vibrate.


The movement of the vocal folds can act as resistance to the airflow from the lungs. Test your knowledge of this by taking the quiz below.

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