Hyoid Bone

Original Editor - Oladayo Babalola

Top Contributors - Oladayo Babalola, Kim Jackson and Niha Mulla

Description[edit | edit source]

Locaion of the hyoid bone in a 3d animation
The hyoid bone

The hyoid bone is a horseshoe-shaped structure located at root of the tongue in the anterior neck between the lower jaw and the largest cartilage of the larynx - the thyroid cartilage.

The hyoid has no direct articulation with other bones; it is only connected distantly to other bones by muscles or ligaments.[1]. The hyoid serves as an attachment structure for the tongue and muscles in the floor of the oral cavity above, the larynx below, and the epiglottis and pharynx behind.[2] It is suspended from the styloid processes of the temporal bones by the stylohyoid ligaments.[3] It aids in tongue movement and deglutition.

Structure[edit | edit source]

The hyoid is an irregular boned composed of a body, a pair of greater horns (greater cornua) and a pair of lesser horns( lesser cornua):

Body – the central part of the bone. It provides origin and insertion to some muscles.

Greater horn – projects posteriorly, superiorly, and laterally from each end of the body. It acts as a site of attachment for numerous neck muscles.

Lesser horn – small projections from the superior aspect of the hyoid bone, near the origin of the greater horn. The stylohyoid ligament is attached to the apex of each horn.

Muscle attachments[edit | edit source]

The hyoid bone has many muscles attached to it.[4]

Oral Cavity and Pharynx

  • Middle pharyngeal constrictor
  • Hyoglossus
  • Genioglossus



  • Thyrohyoid
  • Omohyoid
  • Sternohyoid

Ligament Attachments[edit | edit source]

There are three main ligaments that attach to the hyoid bone.

  • Stylohyoid ligament
  • Thyrohyoid membrane
  • Hyoepiglottic ligament

Clinical relevance[edit | edit source]

Fractures of the hyoid are relatively rare due to it's position below the mandible. However, they are characteristically associated with strangulation. They can also occur as a result of trauma, presenting with pain on speaking, odynophagia and dyspnoea.

The hyoid plays an integral role in upper airway the movement and depression of the hyoid has been implicated in obstructive sleep apnea.[5]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Kenhub GmbH. Hyoid bone: Anatomy and function | Kenhub. Available from: https://www.kenhub.com/en/library/anatomy/hyoid-bone (accessed 22 April 2022).
  2. The Hyoid Bone - Structure - Attachments - TeachMeAnatomy. Available from: https://teachmeanatomy.info/neck/bones/hyoid-bone/ (accessed 22 April 2022).
  3. Keith LM, Arthur FD, Anne A. Clinically oriented anatomy. 8. Philadelphia. Lippincott Williams and Wilkins. 2017.
  4. Shaw SM, Martino R. The Normal Swallow. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. 2013; 46(6), 937–956.
  5. Sforza, Emilia et al. Upper Airway Collapsibility and Cephalometric Variables in Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. 2000; 161(2): 347–352.