An anatomical study of anastomoses between the laryngeal nerves

Jose Ramón Sañudo, Eva Maranillo, Xavier León, Rosa María Mirapeix, Cesar Orús, Miquel Quer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To systematize the anatomy of the connecting branches between laryngeal nerves. Methods: Microdissection of 90 larynges obtained from necropsies (57 men and 33 women; age range, 41-95 y). Results: Anastomoses between the internal and recurrent nerves appeared in four different patterns: 1) Galen's anastomosis, as the connection between the dorsal branches of both nerves (100%); 2) arytenoid plexus, as the connection between the arytenoid branches of both nerves, in relation with the arytenoid muscle, and divided in a deep part (100%) and a superficial part (86%); 3) cricoid anastomosis, previously only described in cows, located in the front of the cricoid lamina (6/10 cases); and 4) thyroarytenoid anastomosis, as the connection of a descending branch of the internal laryngeal nerve and an ascending branch of the recurrent nerve (14%). Anastomosis between the internal laryngeal and the external laryngeal nerves appeared as a connecting branch throughout the foramen thyroideum (21%). Anastomosis between the external laryngeal and recurrent nerves appeared as a connecting branch throughout the cricothyroid muscle (68%). Conclusion: At least two anastomoses (Galen's anastomosis and arytenoid plexus) appeared in 21% of hemilarynges, and 79% of cases had three or more anastomoses between the laryngeal nerves. The different prevalence of this complex anastomotic pattern suggests functional differences in the sensory and motor innervation of individual subjects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-987
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1999


  • Anastomosis
  • Innervation
  • Larynx
  • Nerves


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