Vocal cords

Vocal Folds (Vocal Cords) - muscularized folds of mucous membrane that extend from the larynx (voice box) wall. The folds are enclosed in elastic vocal ligament and muscle that control the tension and rate of vibration of the folds as air passes through them.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)1

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The vocal folds are two elastic bands of muscle tissue located in the larynx (voice box) directly above the trachea (windpipe) (see figure). When you breathe, your vocal folds remain apart and when you swallow, they are tightly closed. When you use your voice, however, air from the lungs causes your vocal folds to vibrate between open and closed positions.

Source: NIDCD (NIH)2

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Vocal Cords: A pair of cone-shaped elastic mucous membrane projecting from the laryngeal wall and forming a narrow slit between them. Each contains a thickened free edge (vocal ligament) extending from the Thyroid Cartilage to the Arytenoid Cartilage, and a Vocal Muscle that shortens or relaxes the vocal cord to control sound production.3


Types may include:4

Types of Vocal Cord:

  • False Vocal Cord
  • True Vocal Cord

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  1. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ glossary
  2. Source: NIDCD (NIH): nidcd.nih.gov/ health/ vocal-fold-paralysis
  3. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  4. Source: NCI Thesaurus

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.