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

Melanie J. Knight, Stephen E. McDonald, Martin A. Birchall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-285
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Innervation
  • Larynx
  • Nerve staining
  • Pig model
  • Transplantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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