The Cricoid Cartilage (cartilago cricoidea) is smaller, but thicker and stronger than the thyroid, and forms the lower and posterior parts of the wall of the larynx. It consists of two parts: a posterior quadrate lamina, and a narrow anterior arch, one-fourth or one-fifth of the depth of the lamina.
The lamina (lamina cartilaginis cricoideæ; posterior portion) is deep and broad, and measures from above downward about 2 or 3 cm.; on its posterior surface, in the middle line, is a vertical ridge to the lower part of which are attached the longitudinal fibers of the esophagus; and on either side of this a broad depression for the Cricoarytænoideus posterior.
The arch (arcus cartilaginis cricoideæ; anterior portion) is narrow and convex, and measures vertically from 5 to 7 mm.; it affords attachment externally in front and at the sides to the Cricothyreiodei, and behind, to part of the Constrictor pharyngis inferior.
On either side, at the junction of the lamina with the arch, is a small round articular surface, for articulation with the inferior cornu of the thyroid cartilage.
The lower border of the cricoid cartilage is horizontal, and connected to the highest ring of the trachea by the cricotracheal ligament.
The upper border runs obliquely upward and backward, owing to the great depth of the lamina. It gives attachment, in front, to the middle cricothyroid ligament; at the side, to the conus elasticus and the Cricoarytænoidei laterales; behind, it presents, in the middle, a shallow notch, and on either side of this is a smooth, oval, convex surface, directed upward and lateralward, for articulation with the base of an arytenoid cartilage.
The inner surface of the cricoid cartilage is smooth, and lined by mucous membrane.