Using new computer applications and digital technologies, we provide a rigorous description and realistic illustrations of the arytenoid-on-the cricoid rotations. We also provide the articular facet topography and interactions that underlay those rotations and the concomitant vocal process positional shifts. The thyroid cartilage and all soft tissues were removed from three excised, preserved, normal, adult human larynges without disturbing the crico-arytenoid (CA) articular capsule. Three CA assemblies were thus prepared and used to digitize arytenoid rotations and vocal process positional shifts, and, after disarticulation, also the surface contour of the arytenoid and cricoid facets, and the cricoid lumen margin. The digitized data served to computer generate 2D and 3D graphic visualizations of the vocal process positional shifts, of the topography of the facets, and of the facet motion sequences that show that the anteroposteriorly concave arytenoid facet slides and conjunctly rotates on the anteroposteriorly convex cricoid facet. Visual details of all graphic representations and facet motion sequences were essentially identical across the three assemblies. Then, based on the computer generated data obtained from the largest of the CA assemblies, 3D, realistic, and hand-drawn images were made that illustrate the directions in which the arytenoids can rotate and the vocal processes concomitantly shift positions. Results indicate that when the arytenoids rotate by sliding from anterior to posterior on the cricoid facets about a primary axis of motion aligned from medial, posterior, and superior, to lateral, anterior, and inferior, their vocal processes shift positions along a plane obliquely oriented from anterior and medial, to posterior and lateral, and from inferior and medial, to superior and lateral.
- Cartilaginous functional anatomy
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