When described casually, most people say ”vocal cords.” The proper medical reference term is actually, ”vocal folds.”
Vocal folds are composed of mucosa tissue and muscle tissue.
Also known as, vocal cords mucosa and vocal cord muscles.
The vocal cord mucosa is covered by stratified squamous non-keratinizing epithelium.
Well, let me say a little-know information.
When examined through a microscope, you can see the cross section of vocal chords, the vocal ligaments between the vocal cords mucosa and muscle.
The vocal ligament connects the processus vocalis cartilaginis arytenoidei to the anterior commissure of thyroid cartilage and bear vocal folds.
If the stretching/elasticity rate of the vocal ligaments are different between the right and left, it is sometimes awkward or uncomfortable to move the vocal cords from right to left. This is not common, and most people are oblivious to it.
There is a space between the vocal ligament and the vocal cords mucosa (nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithlium). It is not completely hollow, it’s filled with loose connective tissue. This is referred to as, ”Reinke’s space.”
In rare instances, a vocal cord edema may form. That is when an overflow or pooling of blood and fluid is collected in ”Reinke’s space.” This is caused by, an imbalance of the blood and fluid, resulting in a hoarse voice or rough/scratchy low voice.
If the fluid is lacking in Reinke’s space, the vocal cords mucosa shrinks, and the nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithlium is wrinkled. Which in turn, results in the glottis opening, creating hoarseness and or harsh high notes.
Let summarize below.
The vocal folds are composed of
‘’Nonkeratinized stratified squamous epithlium’’=>’’Reink’s space’’=> ‘’Vocal ligament’’=>’’Vocal cords muscle’’.
The above is a rough sketch, only because it does not go into depth, showing the conus elasticus. But it is very useful in this instance of observing the layering pattern, and location of the facts stated above.
Note1: A ligament exists in a false vocal cord (vestibule), and this is very important to observe for improving phonation.
Note2: It is known that loose connective tissue easily expands due to infection or irritation. That’s why swelling and a hoarse voice occur when you catch a cold or strain/over exhaust the use of your voice.