Cricoid Cartilage Definition:
The term “cricoid” refers to a group of muscles located along the front wall of your throat. These muscles are responsible for controlling the flow of air through your windpipe and regulating its pressure. They also act as a seal between your vocal cords and the larynx (voice box). The cricoids control airflow into and out of your lungs and regulate their volume, which in turn affects how loud you can make sounds.
When you have a blockage or inflammation in these cricoid muscles, it causes symptoms such as hoarseness, coughing, wheezing and other respiratory problems. There are many different types of cricoid cartilage but they all work together to keep your voice clear and healthy.
Types Of Cricoid Cartilage:
There are two main types of cricoid cartilage: the mucociliary type and the nonmucociliary type.
These are cartilaginous structures found in the back of your throat. They consist of several layers of connective tissue and muscle fibers. When you cough, they move air from your lungs to your trachea (windpipe) where it enters the lungs via small tubes called bronchioles. The mucociliary cartilage helps regulate the amount of air entering and exiting your lungs.
The nonmucociliary cartilage is a connective tissue that consists of a single layer of cuboidal cells and connective tissue. This cartilage rings the upper part of your larynx to help control the pitch of your voice. This is not part of mucociliary system.
These two types of cartilages work together to protect your larynx and provide the strength and size it needs to vibrate properly to produce sound.
Cricoid Cartilage Pronunciation:
The cricoid cartilage is sometimes referred to as the “laryngopharyngeal arch” or “epiglottic arch”. Its purpose is to provide the most superior portion of the “cartilaginous skeleton” that protects the upper part of your windpipe (trachea) and larynx (voice box).
It’s named for its shape, which resembles a small sailing ship’s sail or a “cricket’s” insect. It is smooth and symmetrical on both front and back sides. The cricoid ring is one of the largest and heaviest cartilages in your body and needs to be sturdy enough to support the tension created when you swallow food.
Cricoid Cartilage CT:
CT is an abbreviation for “computed tomography”. A “tomogram” is an image made by passing X-rays through an object and detecting the resultant transmission on a flat sensor. CT is a type of imaging that combines many X-ray projections from multiple angles to produce cross-sectional images that can be used for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
Sources & references used in this article:
Primary tracheal anastomosis after resection of the cricoid cartilage with preservation of recurrent laryngeal nerves by FG Pearson, JD Cooper, JM Nelems… – The Journal of Thoracic …, 1975 – Elsevier
Dimensions of the cricoid cartilage and the trachea by Å Randestad, CE Lindholm, P Fabian – The Laryngoscope, 2000 – Wiley Online Library
Cricoid cartilage pressure decreases lower esophageal sphincter tone by JP Tournadre, D Chassard, KR Berrada… – The Journal of the …, 1997 – pubs.asahq.org
Fracture of the cricoid cartilage after Sellick’s manoeuvre. by KJ Heath, M Palmer, SJ Fletcher – British journal of anaesthesia, 1996 – academic.oup.com