Membranous Glottis

The anterior two-thirds of the vocal cord’s visible length and also, during breathing, the space between this segment of both cords. Also called the musculomembranous glottis. The layers of the membranous glottis, in order from deepest to most superficial, are: the thyroarytenoid muscle; the vocal ligament, made of elastin and collagen fibers; the mucosa, which comprises both a loose attachment zone called the lamina propria or Reinke’s space and, on the very surface of the cord, a layer of squamous epithelium. The other one-third of each vocal cord’s visible length is called the cartilaginous glottis.


The epiglottis is the flexible, leaf-like cartilaginous structure that sits upright in the pharynx, between the base of the tongue and the larynx. The root or petiole of the epiglottis is inside the upper part of the thyroid cartilage just above the anterior insertion of the vocal cords. During swallowing, the epiglottis bends backward to cover the entrance of the larynx, helping to divert food into the esophagus.