Unilateral and bilateral agenesis of the upper thyroid horns - A morphometric analysis of the larynx.


Institute of Legal Medicine, Justus Liebig University, Frankfurter Str. 58, 35392 Gießen, Germany. Electronic address: [Email]


The agenesis of one or both upper thyroid horns (UTH) cannot be considered rare with an incidence ranging between 0.8-9.4%. Studies so far have mostly described frequencies, yet surveys on its morphology and traumatology are missing. It is unknown to what extent this anatomical variant impacts the overall symmetry of the larynx. For the trauma reconstruction after cervical trauma this knowledge is required as an asymmetric larynx can show a different fracture pattern. In this investigation, larynxes with unilateral (n=21)/bilateral (n=5) agenesis of the upper thyroid horn(s) and a control group with regular larynxes (n=23) were juxtaposed. Various measurements were taken after μ-CT scanning. In total 10 distances/angles for the thyroid cartilage and 8 for the cricoid cartilage were compared. Using intra-individual and matched pair comparisons the symmetry was assessed. The results of this investigation showed significant differences in the intra-individual and pairwise comparison for the opening angle and the length of the thyroid alae although the lateral inclination of the thyroid alae showed no significant difference. Combining these three parameters into one symmetry score, the comparison was not significant. This research demonstrates that neither unilateral nor bilateral agenesis of the UTH is related to a structural disbalance of the larynx. Thus, different fracture patterns or vulnerabilities are not to be expected.


Agenesis of upper thyroid horns,Gender dimorphism,Micro-CT,Morphometry,Thyroid cartilage,Unilateral agenesis,

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