Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »

Cricoid cartilage

The cricoid cartilage is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the trachea, or windpipe. It is located near the middle and center of the neck. This cartilage consists of strong connective tissue constituting the dorsal (back) part of the larynx, or voice box.

The cricoid cartilage is located slightly below the thyroid cartilage, which it connects with through the medial cricothyroid ligament. It also joins the first tracheal ring through the cricotracheal ligament. The thyroid gland has an anatomical relationship with this cartilage. The gland's two lobes extend above on either sides of the cricoid, but the thyroid isthmus — a bridge of tissue that joins the two halves of the thyroid over the trachea — is below it. The lateral (side) and front portions of this cartilage are slightly narrower than the back portion.

The primary role of the cricoid cartilage is to provide connectivity for different ligaments, cartilages, and muscles, which facilitate the opening and shutting of the air passage and the production of sound.

The cricoid cartilage is composed of hyaline, which is soft and flexible in young people. However, it calcifies and hardens as it progresses in age. The cartilage may be surgically removed in rare cases where it becomes necessary to clear tracheal blockages.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
Co-developed by:

In Depth: Cricoid cartilage

Debugging Tools

Level: 5
Frame: 1
Toggle Hotspot
VP Data Tool
HexTable json from Steve
Steve's ajax layer update call:
[still on original layer]

Ad values:

adModel.dfpAdSite: hn.us.hl.bm.x.x.x
adParams['k1']: generalanatomy,cricoid_cartilage,8002043

More on BodyMaps

Take a Video Tour

Learn how to rotate, look inside and explore the human body. Take the tour

BodyMaps Feedback

How do you like BodyMaps? How can we improve it? Tell us what you think