Cartilages of the Larynx

The larynx is made up of a set of paired and unpaired cartilages.

From top-down, first is the hyoid bone, an unpaired cartilage which sort of floats around under the lower jaw. It provides a point of attachment for various muscles, including those of the tongue, lower jaw, skull, and larynx.

Next, is the thyroid, which is the largest cartilage of the larynx and it is made up of two laminae. It is also unpaired. The thyroid laminae come together to form the thyroid notch, which in males is very prominent, and better known as the "Adam's Apple".

Just beneath the thyroid sits the cricoid cartilage (shaped like a signet ring). The cricoid cartilage completely surrounds the larynx and is the second largest cartilage of the larynx, also unpaired. It is often thought of as the uppermost tracheal ring.

The cricoid attaches to both the thyroid and the arytenoid cartilages. The arytenoid cartilages are paired pyramid-shaped structures that sit on top of the cricoid (posteriorly).

The corniculate cartilages are another paired structure that sit on top of the arytenoid cartilages.

Finally, we have the cuneiform cartilages (also paired), which are located within the aryepiglottic folds (a fold of tissue from the arytenoid to the epiglottis).

All together, these 6 cartilages (3 paired and 3 unpaired) make up the laryngeal framework.