The lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle is a muscle of the larynx. He belongs to the inner laryngeal muscles. It allows the closure of the glottis.

What is the lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle?

For speech and language education, the human organism needs a larynx and several coordinated modules. At the upper end of the neck to the center of the neck, the larynx is in a vertical form and can be palpable from the outside.

His movements are controlled by the laryngeal muscles. Here, the inner and outer laryngeal muscles are to be distinguished from each other. The lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle is associated with the internal laryngeal muscles. He has an important voice training function. The larynx is surrounded by various cartilages. Visually, they have the shape of a scaffold.

The path of the lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle runs from the cricoid cartilage obliquely to the arytenoid cartilage. There he moves the arytenoid cartilage to the midline. This causes the glottis to narrow. The glottis is slit-shaped. It is located between the vocal folds. The process of narrowing causes the vocal cords to relax. For vocalization, the vocal cords must vibrate freely. The cricoarytaenoideus lateralis muscle is involved in this.

Anatomy & Construction

The larynx is referred to by physicians as the larynx. It consists of fibers, various muscles and cartilage. In order for the larynx to move, it is innervated by various muscles. The muscles are differentiated into the inner and outer laryngeal muscles.

The larynx itself can be subdivided into a total of three areas. They are perpendicular to each other. At the top is the supraglottis or vestibulum laryngis. In the middle there are the glottis or Cavitas laryngis intermedia. The lower part is formed by the subglottis or cavitas infraglottica. The shape of the larynx is formed by a cartilaginous framework. The cartilages completely surround the larynx and are distinguished according to the region.

There are four different cartilages. These are the Cartilago cricoida, the Cartilago thyroidea, the Cartilago epiglottica and the Cartilagines arytaenideae. The Cartilago cricoida is the cricoid cartilage and the Cartilagines arytaenideae is also referred to as Stellknorpel or arytenoid cartilage. The arytenoid cartilage includes the processus muscularis. The lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle begins with its course at the arc of the cricoid cartilage. From the upper edge, he pulls to the processus muscularis of the arytenoid cartilage. The cricoarytaenoideus lateralis muscle is supplied by the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Function & Tasks

The phonation is produced in humans in the larynx. Phonotation is the formation of human voice. In order for it to happen, humans need different muscles. One of them is the lateral cricoarytaenoideus muscle. The larynx has a vertical shape and can be divided into several layers. Each of them is surrounded by a skeleton of cartilage and has different functions.

The upper layer contains the cricoid cartilage and the lower cartilage the lower cartilage. The voice formation takes place in the area of ​​the arytenoid cartilage. If the cricoarytaenoideus lateralis muscle contracts, it contracts the muscular process of the arytenoid cartilage. These are bone processes. By contracting, the cartilages approach each other. At the same time, the vocal cords come closer as the activity of the muscle causes the glottis to close.

To create a tone, the vocal folds must approach each other. In order for the phonotation to function, in addition to the training of various components, an interaction of different functions in the organism is needed. They include proper hearing, the free swinging of the vocal cords, a continuous stream of air and the closing of the glottis. The vocal sound and the voice color are generated in the neck tube. This is located in the mouth, nose and throat and must be free. The airflow flows through the lungs, bronchi and trachea. Only when all components are in harmony with each other does voice formation take place.


Hoarseness occurs when the cricoarytaenoideus lateralis muscle is impaired. Hoarseness is called a dysponie. It causes the vocalization and timbre to change. Most of it is rough or scratchy. The volume of the generated sounds is usually reduced.

The reason for this is that vocal cords can no longer vibrate freely when hoarsened. All diseases that have hoarseness as a symptom cause impairments in this region of the body. These include respiratory and throat infections, allergies or inflammation. Chronic or acute inflammation of the larynx or inflammation of the trachea causes hoarseness and irritable coughing. In addition, the airway narrows. The same happens with bronchitis.

An inflammation of the nerve, damage or failure of the inferior laryngeal nerve causes the lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle to become insufficiently or not at all innervated. This leads to a functional failure of the muscle. A benign or malignant neoplasm of tissue impairs the functional ability of the lateral cricoarytaenoid muscle. These may be edema, cyst formation or carcinoma of the cervical, pharyngeal or laryngeal area.

They all affect the activities of the vocal cords and the phonation. Inhaling toxins or smoking also affects the larynx region. If a patient is intubated in an emergency under difficult conditions, the larynx, vocal cords, and surrounding vessels and nerves may be damaged. Intubation lasting several weeks may also cause trauma to the larynx.

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