What are all the layers of the vocal cords?

The Mucosa or Cover (YELLOW) is made up of the Epithelium and the Superficial Lamina Propria.

The Epitehlium protects the under layers from damage.

The Superficial Lamina Propria is gelatinous and is made up of fluid and elastin.

The Vocal Ligament (RED) is made up of the Intermediate and the Deep Lamina Propria.

The Intermediate Lamina Propria is elastin fibres and lets the vocal cord lengthen and shorten.

The Deep Lamina Propria is made of collagen to limit elongation of the cord. The vocal ligament provides the voice with range and flexibility and pitch.

The Body (BLUE) is the Vocalis Muscle. This is stiff compared to the other layers. Its abducts (opens) and adducts (closes).

How does this link with vocal cord pathologies?

Vocal cord nodules are benign calluses (scar) that form along the mid-portions of the vocal cord edges in the Epithelium layer.

Vocal hemorrhage occurs when a blood vessel in the vocal cord ruptures, and leaks blood into the superficial lamina propria.

A cyst is a mass made up of a collection of material, usually mucus, that is surrounded by a membrane envelope. It is found underneath the epithelium, within the superficial lamina propria.

Reinke’s oedema, also called “polypoid corditis”, is a swelling of the entire layer of the superficial lamina propria (otherwise known as Reinke’s layer)

Vocal cord paralysis is when innervation to the body layer, the thyroarytenoid muscle is damaged and the muscle stops moving.