Investigating Laryngeal Morphology

Diven, Allison, Kevin Kalnasy, Emily Koetters, and Mary Tracy-Bee

The larynx is an organ found in the neck through which the air we breathe passes on its way to and from the lungs.  The larynx is composed of numerous pieces of cartilage in a specific arrangement.  While many medical procedures involve manipulation or accessing different areas of the larynx, few quantify the actual distances between these cartilaginous structures and related bony structures or make note of variations between gender and race.  Our study investigated the size and distance of the hyoid bone, the thyroid cartilage and the cricoid cartilage on human cadavers at University of Detroit Mercy, Wayne State University School of Medicine, and Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.  Surprisingly, a significant different in the size of the cartilaginous structures was not identified in most parameters between genders.  However, the size of the gaps that lie between the hyoid bone the cartilage structures was slightly higher in females than males.  This has an impact on clinical processes like intubation, tracheostomies, and cricothyrotomies.