The cricothyroid membrane, the softer area between the firmer and more prominent thyroid cartilage (Adam’s apple) and the smaller cricoid cartilage, is the portion of the throat used to insert a hollow needle to assist in breathing when other attempts have failed. This procedure is also known as an emergency airway puncture or cricothyrotomy.
Review Date: 11/28/2016
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.