Hyoid Bone

The Hyoid Bone is shaped like a horseshoe. The slender greater horns are attached on both sides to the transverse body and end with a button-shaped thickening. The greater horn of hyoid bone is connected to the superior horn of the thyroid cartilage by the thyrohyoid ligament. The lesser horns project upward at the border of the body and greater horn on each side as short, conical processes. The hyoid is readily palpable at the angle between the floor of the mouth and the upper part of the neck. The hyoid lies at the level of C3.

A fracture of the hyoid bone causes the hyoid bone to sink down onto the larynx. Consequently, in swallowing, the hyoid can no longer be drawn upward and forward (below the tongue) by the suprahyoid muscles. If the lower respiratory tract is not sufficiently closed, there is a danger of aspiration pneumonia.

Inferior to the hyoid bone a rounded, midline, well-demarcated, painless, fluid-filled mass that is not fixed and moves superiorly upon swallowing may represent a cyst arising from the remnant of the thyroglossal duct (formed during migration of the thyroid from the base of the tongue to its final position in the neck). The foramen cecum is the normal remnant of the thyroglossal duct.