Infobox Anatomy
Latin = cartilago cricoidea
GraySubject = 236
GrayPage = 1074

Caption = Anterolateral view of head and neck. (Cricoid cartilage labeled at center left.)

Caption2 = The ligaments of the larynx. Antero-lateral view. (Cricoid cartilage visible near bottom center.)
Precursor = 4th and 6th branchial arch
System =
Artery =
Vein =
Nerve =
Lymph =
MeshName = Cricoid+Cartilage
MeshNumber = A02.165.507.211
DorlandsPre =
DorlandsSuf =
The cricoid cartilage, or simply cricoid (from the Greek "krikoeides" meaning "ring-shaped"), is the only complete ring of cartilage around the trachea.


It sits just inferior to the thyroid cartilage in the neck, and is joined to it medially by the median cricothyroid ligament and postero-laterally by the cricothyroid joints. Inferior to it are the rings of cartilage around the trachea (which are not continuous - rather they are C-shaped with a gap posteriorly). The cricoid is joined to the first tracheal ring by the cricotracheal ligament, and this can be felt as a more yielding area between the firm thyroid cartilage and firmer cricoid.

It is also anatomically related to the thyroid gland; although the thyroid isthmus is inferior to it, the two lobes of the thyroid extend superiorly on each side of the cricoid as far as the thyroid cartilage above it.

The posterior part of the cricoid is slightly broader than the anterior and lateral parts, and is called the lamina, while the anterior part is the band; this may be the reason for the common comparison made between the cricoid and a signet ring.


The function of the cricoid is to provide attachments for the various muscles, cartilages, and ligaments involved in opening and closing the airway and in speech production.


It is made of hyaline cartilage, and so can become calcified or even ossified, particularly in old age.

Clinical significance

When intubating a patient under general anesthesia prior to surgery, the anesthesiologist will press on the cricoid cartilage to compress the esophagus behind it so as to prevent gastric reflux from occurring.

Gastric reflux could cause aspiration if this is not done considering the general anesthesia can cause relaxation of the gastro-esophageal sphincter allowing stomach contents to ascend through the esophagus into the trachea.


See also

*Post-cricoid carcinoma

External links

* [ Illustration at]
* - "Skeleton of the larynx."
* (NormanAnatomyFig|larynxsagsect)

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • cricoid — CRICOÍD, Ă, cricoizi, de, adj. În formă de inel. – Din fr. cricoïde. Trimis de LauraGellner, 31.07.2004. Sursa: DEX 98  cricoíd adj. m., pl. cricoízi; f. sg. cricoídă, pl. cricoíde …   Dicționar Român

  • Cricoid — Cri coid (kr? koid), a. [Gr. ???? ring + oid.] (Anat.) Resembling a ring; said esp. of the cartilage at the larynx, and the adjoining parts. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • cricoid — [krī′koid΄] adj. [Gr krikoeidēs, ring shaped < krikos, ring (akin to kirkos: see CIRCUS) + eidēs, OID] designating or of the ring shaped cartilage forming the lower part of the larynx …   English World dictionary

  • cricoid — 1. adjective /ˈkɹʌɪkɔɪd/ Shaped like a ring, usually with reference to the cricoid cartilage. 2. noun /ˈkɹʌɪkɔɪd/ The cricoid cartilage. What luck that Mr. Romeo still gripped and twisted and cracked that crooked cricoid as X rayed by the firemen …   Wiktionary

  • cricoid — /kruy koyd/, Anat. adj. 1. pertaining to a ring shaped cartilage at the lower part of the larynx. n. 2. the cricoid cartilage. See diag. under larynx. [1700 10; < NL cricoides < Gk krikoeidés ring shaped. See CIRCLE, OID] * * * …   Universalium

  • cricoid — Ring shaped; denoting the c. cartilage. [L. cricoideus, fr. G. krikos, a ring, + eidos, form] * * * cri·coid (kriґkoid) [Gr. krikos ring + oid] 1. resembling a ring; ring shaped. 2. the cricoid cartilage (cartilago cricoidea [TA]) …   Medical dictionary

  • cricoid — [ krʌɪkɔɪd] noun (also cricoid cartilage) Anatomy the ring shaped cartilage of the larynx. Origin C18: from mod. L. cricoides ring shaped …   English new terms dictionary

  • cricoid — /ˈkraɪkɔɪd/ (say kruykoyd) adjective 1. having the shape of a seal ring, as a cartilage at the lower part of the larynx. –noun 2. the cricoid cartilage. {Greek krikoeidēs ring shaped} …  

  • cricoid — adj. & n. adj. ring shaped. n. (in full cricoid cartilage) Anat. the ring shaped cartilage of the larynx. Etymology: mod.L cricoides f. Gk krikoeides f. krikos ring …   Useful english dictionary

  • Cricoid cartilage — Anterolateral view of head and neck. (Cricoid cartilage labeled at center left.) …   Wikipedia

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