The larynx is a part of the larger respiratory system. It is the primary organ responsible for the production of vocal sounds. A laryngeal injury from a motor vehicle collision can be serious if, for example, it affects your speech. You could have difficulty communicating with others, which could affect your ability to hold a job or carry out activities of daily living.
Furthermore, an injury to your larynx could affect your trachea, more commonly known as your windpipe. If this occurs, it could affect your ability to breathe.
What is the connection between laryngeal injuries and motor vehicle collisions?
Laryngeal injuries are uncommon, but when they do occur, the most common cause is a motor vehicle accident. One way that you could sustain a laryngeal injury is by “clotheslining” on a fixed object while riding a motorcycle. Another method of injury is hyperextension of the neck, such as might occur during a rear-end collision.
What are the different types of laryngeal injuries?
According to Stat Pearls, there are two different types of laryngeal injuries. A penetrating injury occurs when something cuts into the larynx, while a blunt injury occurs due to traumatic impact to the larynx without penetration. In a motor vehicle accident, you are more likely to sustain a blunt laryngeal injury.
What makes laryngeal injuries so serious?
Both your larynx and your trachea consist of cartilage, an organic material that is flexible and relatively soft. If subjected to an impact, the cartilage can fracture. This becomes more likely if the impact occurs at a high velocity. Structural deformities of the larynx and trachea can occur due to the fracturing of the cartilage.
Modern automotive safety features, such as airbags and seatbelts, have helped to reduce the number of laryngeal injuries that occur from motor vehicle accidents. Nevertheless, though laryngeal injuries account for only 1% of all those resulting from trauma, they are second only to intracranial injuries as the head-neck trauma is most likely to result in your death.