Age-related changes in the hyoepiglottic ligament: Functional implications based on histopathologic study

Motohiro Sawatsubashi, Toshiro Umezaki, Kenichiro Kusano, Osamu Tokunaga, Masamichi Oda, Shizuo Komune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The study aimed to identify age-related changes in the hyoepiglottic ligament associated with function of the epiglottis during swallowing and respiration. Materials and Methods: Normal postmortem laryngeal tissue samples were obtained at autopsy from 20 individuals with no history of laryngeal disease. The subjects were divided into 2 groups: those aged 81-91 years (elderly group, n = 11) and those aged 31-48 years (non-elderly group, n =9). Specimens were subjected to Elastica van Gieson and hematoxylin-eosin staining, and characteristics of the hyoepiglottic ligament were compared between groups. Results: The hyoepiglottic ligament extended from the epiglottis to both lingual muscles and the hyoid bone (pars lingualis and pars hyoideus). The numbers of muscle fibers (P < .001), collagenous fibers (P < .01), and elastic fibers (P < .001) were significantly decreased in the elderly group in comparison to those in the non-elderly group. Conclusion: Age-related changes in the hyoepiglottic ligament appear to be associated with aspiration, obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, and acquired laryngomalacia in the elderly.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)448-452
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Medicine and Surgery
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2010


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Otorhinolaryngology

Cite this