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Part of the larynx, to which the vocal folds (vocal cords) are attached
The arytenoid cartilages are a pair of small three-sided pyramids which form part of the larynx. They are the site of attachment of the vocal cords. Each is pyramidal or ladle-shaped and has three surfaces, a base, and an apex. The arytenoid cartilages allow for movement of the vocal cords by articulating with the cricoid cartilage. It may be affected by arthritis, dislocations, or sclerosis.
The arytenoid cartilages are part of the posterior part of the larynx.
The posterior surface is triangular, smooth, concave, and gives attachment to the arytenoid muscle and transversus.
The antero-lateral surface is somewhat convex and rough. On it, near the apex of the cartilage, is a rounded elevation (colliculus) from which a ridge (crista arcuata) curves at first backward and then downward and forward to the vocal process. The lower part of this crest intervenes between two depressions or foveæ, an upper, triangular, and a lower oblong in shape; the latter gives attachment to the thyroarytenoid muscle (vocal muscle).
The medial surface is narrow, smooth, and flattened, covered by mucous membrane. It forms the lateral boundary of the intercartilaginous part of the rima glottidis.
Base and apex
The base of each cartilage is broad, and on it is a concave smooth surface, for articulation with the cricoid cartilage.
The apex of each cartilage is pointed, curved backward and medialward, and surmounted by a small conical, cartilaginous nodule, the corniculate cartilage. It articulates with the cricoid lamina with a ball-and-socket joint.
The arytenoid cartilages allow the vocal folds to be tensed, relaxed, or approximated. They articulate with the supero-lateral parts of the cricoid cartilage lamina, forming the cricoarytenoid joints at which they can come together, move apart, tilt anteriorly or posteriorly, and rotate.