Block 5 Anat, Carot,Sheath,Larynx,Pharynx

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Anatomy Quizzes & Trivia

Questions and Answers
  • 1. 

    Following thyroid surgery, it was noted that a patient frequently aspirated fluid into her lungs. Upon examination it was determined that the area of the piriform recess above the vocal fold of the larynx was numb. What nerve may have been injured?

    • A.

      External branch of the superior pharyngeal

    • B.

      Hypoglossal

    • C.

      Internal branch of the superior laryngeal

    • D.

      Lingual

    • E.

      Recurrent laryngeal

    Correct Answer
    C. Internal branch of the superior laryngeal
    Explanation
    The internal branch of the superior laryngeal is a sensory nerve that pierces the thyrohyoid membrane along with the superior laryngeal artery. It supplies sensory fibers to the mucous membrane of the larynx, superior to the vocal folds. Since this area lost sensation, it appears that the internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve must have been injured. The external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve is a motor nerve that innervates the cricothyroid muscle--it does not provide any sensory innervation to the larynx. The recurrent laryngeal nerve ascends from the thorax and provides motor innervation to the upper esophagus, lower pharynx, and all the laryngeal muscles except cricothyroideus.
    The hypoglossal nerve supplies motor innervation to the muscles of the tongue. The lingual nerve is a sensory nerve for the anterior 2/3 of the tongue. These nerves are not important for innervating the larynx.

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  • 2. 

    The laryngeal muscle most responsible for stretching (elongating) the vocal ligament is the :

    • A.

      Posterior cricoarytenoid

    • B.

      Lateral cricoarytenoid

    • C.

      Thyroarytenoid

    • D.

      Arytenoid

    • E.

      Cricothyroid

    Correct Answer
    E. Cricothyroid
    Explanation
    Cricothyroid draws the thyroid cartilage forward, tensing the vocal ligaments. This is the one muscle innervated by the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve. Posterior cricoarytenoid is a very important muscle; it's the only muscle that abducts the vocal folds. This muscle is innervated by the inferior laryngeal nerve, which is a continuation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. If this muscle is denervated, the vocal folds may be paralyzed in an adducted position, which would prevent air from entering the trachea. Lateral cricoarytenoid, thyroarytenoid, and arytenoid are all muscles that adduct the vocal folds. They are all innervated by the inferior laryngeal nerve.

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  • 3. 

    The muscle most responsible for the abduction of the vocal folds is the :

    • A.

      Arytenoid

    • B.

      Cricothyroid

    • C.

      Lateral cricoarytenoid

    • D.

      Posterior cricoarytenoid

    • E.

      Thyroarytenoid

    Correct Answer
    D. Posterior cricoarytenoid
    Explanation
    The posterior cricoarytenoid is the only muscle that abducts the vocal folds. This muscle is innervated by the inferior laryngeal nerve, which is a continuation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. If this muscle is denervated, the vocal folds may be paralyzed in an adducted position, which would prevent air from entering the trachea. Arytenoid, lateral cricoarytenoid, and thyroarytenoid all adduct the vocal folds. Cricothyroid is the only laryngeal muscle innervated by the external branch of the superior laryngeal. It tenses the vocal ligaments by tipping the thyroid cartilage forward relative to the cricoid cartilage.

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  • 4. 

    The nerve that innervates all but one muscle of larynx is the:

    • A.

      Glossopharyngeal nerve, pharyngeal branch

    • B.

      Inferior laryngeal nerve

    • C.

      Superior laryngeal nerve, external branch

    • D.

      Superior laryngeal nerve, internal branch

    • E.

      Thyrohyoid nerve

    Correct Answer
    B. Inferior laryngeal nerve
    Explanation
    The inferior laryngeal nerve is the continuation of the recurrent laryngeal nerve, superior to the inferior border of the cricoid cartilage. It innervates the posterior cricoarytenoid muscle, which is responsible for abducting the vocal folds. The inferior laryngeal nerve also innervates all of the other intrinsic muscles of the larynx, with the exception of the cricothyroid muscle. The pharyngeal branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve provides sensory innervation to the pharynx, but not to the larynx. The glossopharyngeal nerve only provides motor innervation to stylopharyngeus. The external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve innervates the cricothyroid muscle, which is responsible for stretching the vocal ligaments. The internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve is responsible for providing sensory innervation to the mucosa of the larynx, superior to the true vocal fold. The thyrohyoid nerve is a branch of ansa cervicalis-- it innervates the thyrohyoid muscle, which elevates the larynx and depresses the hyoid bone (or helps to fix the hyoid in space, so that other muscles, such as tongue muscles, can work).

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  • 5. 

    The vocalis muscle is most responsible for the fine control of phonation because of its attachment into the:

    • A.

      Arytenoid cartilage

    • B.

      Cricoid cartilage

    • C.

      Thyroid cartilage

    • D.

      Vestibular ligament

    • E.

      Vocal ligament

    Correct Answer
    E. Vocal ligament
    Explanation
    Vocalis represents the innermost fibers of the thyroarytenoid muscle, from the inner surface of the thyroid cartilage. Because vocalis inserts on the vocal ligament, it can relax very specific segments of the vocal ligament to adjust the pitch. Although there are many muscles that insert on the other pieces of cartilage listed, vocalis is the only one that can provide for such fine control of tone because it is inserting right on the vocal ligament.

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  • 6. 

    The constrictor muscles of the pharynx receive their motor nerve supply from the:

    • A.

      Glossopharyngeal nerve

    • B.

      Hypoglossal nerve

    • C.

      Spinal accessory nerve

    • D.

      Sympathetic trunk

    • E.

      Vagus nerve

    Correct Answer
    E. Vagus nerve
    Explanation
    The vagus nerve supplies motor innervation to the muscles of the larynx and pharynx, with the exception of stylopharyngeus (innervated by the glossopharyngeal nerve). It also supplies motor innervation to the palate muscles, with the exception of tensor veli palatini (innervated by the V3 division of the trigeminal nerve). The glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) provides the sensory, but not motor, innervation to the pharynx. The hypoglossal nerve (CN XII) provides motor innervation to the muscles of the tongue. The accessory nerve (CN XI) provides motor innervation to the trapezius and the sternocleidomastoid. Finally, the sympathetic trunk supplies sympathetic innervation to the head and neck.

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  • 7. 

    Twenty-four hours following a partial thyroidectomy where the inferior thyroid artery was also ligated (tied off), the patient now spoke with a hoarse voice (whisper), and had difficulty in breathing. Which nerve was injured?

    • A.

      Internal branch of superior laryngeal

    • B.

      Ansa cervicalis

    • C.

      Ansa subclavia

    • D.

      Recurrent laryngeal

    • E.

      External branch of superior laryngeal

    Correct Answer
    D. Recurrent laryngeal
    Explanation
    The recurrent laryngeal nerve runs with the inferior thyroid artery toward the lower lobes of the thyroid. This means that the recurrent laryngeal nerve would be at risk in any surgery involving the inferior thyroid artery or the inferior poles of the thyroid. The recurrent laryngeal nerve becomes the inferior laryngeal nerve at the inferior border of cricoid cartilage, and this nerve continues on to innervate all the muscles of the larynx with the exception of cricothyroid. So, an injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve might lead to hoarseness and difficulty breathing (due to a laryngeal spasm).
    The internal branch of superior laryngeal runs with the superior laryngeal artery and pierces the thyrohyoid membrane. Ansa cervicalis is a branch of the cervical plexus which hangs in front of the internal jugular vein. It innervates the strap muscles, not the laryngeal muscles. Ansa subclavia is part of the sympathetic trunk which loops around the subclavian artery. Finally, the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve runs with the superior thyroid artery. This is the artery and nerve that might be damaged when removing the superior lobe of the thyroid.

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  • 8. 

    In performing a thyroidectomy, caution should be exercised when ligating (tying) the inferior thyroid artery, as it lies in a very close relationship to which nerve?

    • A.

      Ansa cervicalis

    • B.

      Hypoglossal

    • C.

      Phrenic

    • D.

      Recurrent laryngeal

    • E.

      Vagus

    Correct Answer
    D. Recurrent laryngeal
    Explanation
    The recurrent laryngeal nerve crosses the inferior thyroid artery near the lower lobe of the thyroid. This means that the recurrent laryngeal nerve would be at risk in any surgery involving the inferior thyroid artery or the inferior poles of the thyroid. The recurrent laryngeal nerve becomes the inferior laryngeal nerve at the inferior border of cricopharyngeus, and this nerve continues on to innervate all the muscles of the larynx with the exception of cricothyroid. So, you really need to take care to protect the recurrent laryngeal nerve--injuring this structure could lead to hoarseness, permanent loss of voice, or even death due to a laryngeal spasm.
    None of the other listed nerves are related to the inferior thyroid artery. Ansa cervicalis is a branch of the cervical plexus which hangs in front of the internal jugular vein. It innervates the strap muscles. The hypoglossal nerve winds behind the internal jugular vein, then sweeps around lateral to the carotid vessels and into the floor of the mouth, where it innervates the tongue muscles. The phrenic nerve lies on top of the anterior scalene muscles--it then travels through the thorax to innervate the diaphragm. Finally, the vagus is found in the carotid sheath--it is associated with the common carotid and the internal carotid arteries.

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  • 9. 

    A 60-year-old man has occasional blackouts and light-headedness. Studies reveal atherosclerotic plaques within the common carotid arteries and the bifurcation of the vessels. A carotid endartectomy is undertaken. Which nerve bundle running vertically within the carotid sheath must the surgeon be careful not to injure?

    • A.

      Accessory

    • B.

      Cervical sympathetic trunk

    • C.

      Glossopharyngeal

    • D.

      Hypoglossal

    • E.

      Vagus

    Correct Answer
    E. Vagus
    Explanation
    In a carotid endarterectomy, surgeons enter the carotid artery and excise the diseased endothelium and media of the artery so that the lumen is left with a smooth lining. To do this, the surgeons must enter the carotid sheath, which means that any structure within that sheath or near that sheath might be injured. This question specifically asks which structure in the sheath could be injured, so the correct answer is the vagus nerve. The carotid sheath contains 2 nerves: the vagus and the superior ramus of ansa cervicalis. It also contains 3 vessels: internal carotid, common carotid, and internal jugular vein. Any of these structures could be damaged during the procedure.
    The accessory nerve is most closely associated with the posterior triangle of the neck. It cuts through this triangle to innervate sternocleidomastoid and trapezius and lies posterior to the carotid vessels The cervical sympathetic trunk lies in front of the prevertebral muscles in the prevertebral fascia. The glossopharyngal nerve comes out of the jugular foramen and divides into 2 branches--pharyngeal and lingual branches. This nerve sweeps near the carotid sheath, but it's not in the carotid sheath. The hypoglossal nerve travels lateral to the carotid vessels before entering the floor of the mouth. It crosses the carotid artery, but it's not in the sheath.

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  • 10. 

    A 55-year-old woman has difficulty swallowing and frequently aspirates fluids while drinking. She is diagnosed as having a skull base tumor occupying the space behind the jugular foramen. Involvement of which structure is responsible for the findings?

    • A.

      Ansa cervicalis

    • B.

      Cervical sympathetic trunk

    • C.

      Accessory nerve

    • D.

      Hypoglossal nerve

    • E.

      Vagus

    Correct Answer
    E. Vagus
    Explanation
    The vagus nerve, which exits the skull through the jugular foramen, is the motor nerve to the pharynx. So, it allows for swallowing. This patient's symptoms and the location of the tumor clearly point to an injury of the vagus nerve. The accessory nerve also exits the skull through the jugular foramen--it could be injured from this tumor, but the symptoms are not suggestive of an accessory nerve injury. If her accessory nerve was damaged, the patient's sternocleidomastoid and trapezius would be denervated, which means the acromion of her shoulder would sag. The other nerve that comes through the jugular foramen is the glossopharyngeal nerve--this nerve might also be damaged by the tumor.
    The other nerves listed do not come from the jugular foramen, so they would not be the first nerves injured by the tumor. Ansa cervicalis is a branch of the cervical plexus that innervates the strap muscles in the anterior neck. The cervical sympathetic trunk is the structure that provides sympathetic innervation to the head and neck. If this trunk was disrupted, the patient would have Horner's syndrome. The symptoms of Horner's syndrome include: ptosis, constricted pupil, lack of sweating on the affected side, flushing on the affected side, and enophthalmos (sunken-in eye). Finally, the hypoglossal nerve exits the skull through the hypoglossal canal, providing motor innervation to the muscles of the tongue. An injury to the hypoglossal nerve would cause the tongue, when protruded, to point to the side of the face with the injured nerve.

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  • 11. 

    While doing a postoperative physical on a patient who has undergone carotid endarterectomy on the right side, it was noted that the tongue deviated toward the right when the patient was asked to point the tongue outward. What nerve crossing the carotid artery must have been injured?

    • A.

      Glossopharyngeal

    • B.

      Hypoglossal

    • C.

      Inferior alveolar

    • D.

      Lingual

    • E.

      Vagus

    Correct Answer
    B. Hypoglossal
    Explanation
    The hypoglossal nerve crosses the carotid artery before diving into the floor of the mouth, so it might get injured during this procedure. This nerve innervates the muscles of the tongue. When the hypoglossal nerve is injured and a patient sticks out the tongue, the tongue points to the side with the injured nerve. So, this patient, who had the right side endarctectomy, has an injury to the right hypoglossal nerve. The symptoms that you see in this case should point you toward suspecting damage to the hypoglossal nerve.
    The glossopharyngeal nerve crosses around the internal carotid artery and the stylopharyngeus muscle--it could theoretically be injured in this procedure, but the symptoms are not consistent with an injury to this structure. The inferior alveolar nerve and lingual nerves are branches of the mandibular division of the trigeminal nerve. They are not associated with the carotid vessels. The vagus nerve is found in the carotid sheath. This nerve can be easily injured by an endarterectomy, although damage to the vagus would cause problems with swallowing, not with tongue movements.

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  • 12. 

    Any manipulation of the superior thyroid artery must be undertaken with care not to damage its small companion nerve, the:

    • A.

      Cervical sympathetic trunk

    • B.

      External branch of the superior laryngeal

    • C.

      Inferior root of the ansa cervicalis

    • D.

      Internal branch of the superior laryngeal

    • E.

      Recurrent laryngeal

    Correct Answer
    B. External branch of the superior laryngeal
    Explanation
    The external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve runs with the superior thyroid artery--this artery and nerve might be damaged when removing the superior pole of the thyroid. If this nerve was damaged, the cricothyroid muscle would be paralyzed, and a patient would be unable to tense the vocal cords. The internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve runs with the superior laryngeal artery and provides sensory innervation to the mucous membrane of the larynx, superior to the vocal fold. The recurrent laryngeal nerve crosses the inferior thyroid artery, near the lower pole of the thyroid. This means that the recurrent laryngeal nerve would be at risk in any surgery involving the inferior thyroid artery or the inferior poles of the thyroid. The recurrent laryngeal innervates all the muscles of the larynx with the exception of cricothyroid. So, an injury to the recurrent laryngeal nerve might lead to hoarseness and dificulty breathing.
    The cervical sympathetic trunk lies in front of the prevertebral muscles in the prevertebral fascia--it would not be near the structures involved with thyroid surgery. The inferior root of ansa cervicalis is a branch of the cervical plexus. It innervates the strap muscles. Ansa cervicalis hangs in a loop over the carotid vessels; it is not associated with the thyroid gland.

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  • 13. 

    The carotid body is innervated by a branch of the:

    • A.

      Glossopharyngeal nerve

    • B.

      Hypoglossal nerve

    • C.

      Spinal accessory nerve

    • D.

      Sympathetic trunk

    • E.

      Vagus nerve

    Correct Answer
    A. Glossopharyngeal nerve
    Explanation
    The carotid body is innervated by the carotid branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve. It is a small, reddish-brown ovoid mass that lies on the medial side of the carotid bifurcation, serving as a chemoreceptor that monitors the level of carbon dioxide in the blood. The hypoglossal nerve (CN XII) innervates the muscles of the tongue. The spinal accessory nerve is a motor nerve that innervates the sternocleidomastoid and the trapezius. The sympathetic trunk provides sympathetic innervation to the head and neck. Finally, the vagus nerve supplies motor innervation to the muscles of the pharynx and larynx, with the exception of stylopharyngeus, and the muscles of the palate, with the exception of tensor veli palatini.

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  • Current Version
  • Mar 22, 2023
    Quiz Edited by
    ProProfs Editorial Team
  • Jan 18, 2012
    Quiz Created by
    Chachelly
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