Hyoid bone

The hyoid bone (os hyoideum)is situated at the level of the base of the tongue, beneath the mandible and above the larynx. It consists of the:

  • Body of the hyoid bone (corpus ossis hyoidei).
  • Greater horn (cornu maius) which continues from both ends of the body and extends backward and laterally.
  • Lesser horn (cornu minus) which arises from the junction of the body and the greater horns and projects upward and backward.

The hyoid bone is held adjacent to the base of the skull by means of a long fibrous cords called stylohyoid liga ments (ligamentum stylohyoideum)stretching from the lesser horns to the styloid processes of the temporal bone.

Clinical comments

The greater horn is an important surgical and clinical landmark for the identification of the lingual artery.

The hyoid bone fracturecan occasionally result from direct violence, as in the act of asphyxiation or throttling. The greater horn is the part of the bone most frequently broken, but sometimes the fracture take place through the body of the bone. In consequence the muscular part of the tongue having important connections with this bone is debilitated, and thus there is great pain upon any attempt being made to move the tongue as in speaking or swallowing.