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International Journal of Morphology

On-line version ISSN 0717-9502


RAMSAROOP, L; HURRINARAIN, K; PARTAB, P  and  SATYAPAL, K. S. The Incidence of the Foramen Thyroideum in the South African Population. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.2, pp.433-438. ISSN 0717-9502.

The foramen thyroideum is described as an occasional opening existing in one or both laminae of the thyroid cartilage which may or may not contain a neurovascular component. Foramen thryoideum was first described in the literature by Segond in 1847. Some authors consider its existence a structural variation rather than an anomaly, with classical texts of anatomy providing little detail when describing this foramen. This study was undertaken to investigate the incidence and characteristics of the foramen thyroideum in the South African population. A total of 80 formalin fixed cadaveric laryngeal specimens (obtained from the Department of Clinical Anatomy, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) were dissected. Larynges were dissected with the aid of a Stemi DV 4 light microscope. The incidence, location, dimensions and contents of the foramen thyroideum were recorded. The horizontal and vertical extent of each foramen was measured with a digital caliper. Six of the 80 (7.5%) specimens examined had distinctly identifiable foramina. Five of the six cases (4 male, 1 female) displayed bilateral foramina (6.3%), with one case (1 female) of a unilateral foramen (1.3%). Of the larynges that had bilateral foramina, a single case presented with two foramina on the same (right) thyroid lamina. A total of twelve foramina were observed. Gender distribution of foramen thyroideum was: male: right 5, left 4; female: right 2, left 1. Preceding investigators of the foramen thyroideum have rightly indicated that awareness of its presence is of paramount importance in order to preserve the structures that traverse it and also to comprehensively treat or contain laryngeal cancer.

Keywords : Thyroid; Foramen; Larynx; Variation.

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