Date: 20 Aug 2004

Intrinsic muscles and distribution of the recurrent laryngeal nerve in the pig larynx

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To use the pig larynx in studies of laryngeal reinnervation, it is essential to have a clear understanding of its anatomy. We aimed to define the macroscopic anatomy of the intrinsic muscles and the course of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) in the pig larynx. Twelve large white pig larynges were used. Five larynges were preserved in formalin, then dissected to study the anatomy of the intrinsic muscles. Seven larynges were stained using the modified Sihler’s staining technique, which results in nerves being stained dark purple while the remainder of the larynx is rendered translucent. The intrinsic muscles of the pig larynx were similar to those in the human. The RLN gives off a branch that enters the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle (PCA) on its deep surface and supplies the entire muscle, although the branching pattern of the nerve within the muscle varies considerably. These results facilitate detailed reinnervation studies in the pig laryngeal transplant model.