Characterization of Puncture Forces of the Human Trachea and Cricothyroid Membrane

J Biomech Eng. 2022 Oct 1;144(10):104502. doi: 10.1115/1.4054380.


Accurate human tissue biomechanical data represents a critical knowledge gap that will help facilitate the advancement of new medical devices, patient-specific predictive models, and training simulators. Tissues related to the human airway are a top priority, as airway medical procedures are common and critical. Placement of a surgical airway, though less common, is often done in an emergent (cricothyrotomy) or urgent (tracheotomy) fashion. This study is the first to report relevant puncture force data for the human cricothyroid membrane and tracheal annular ligaments. Puncture forces of the cricothyroid membrane and tracheal annular ligaments were collected from 39 and 42 excised human donor tracheas, respectively, with a mechanized load frame holding various surgical tools. The average puncture force of the cricothyroid membrane using an 11 blade scalpel was 1.01 ± 0.36 N, and the average puncture force of the tracheal annular ligaments using a 16 gauge needle was 0.98 ± 0.34 N. This data can be used to inform medical device and airway training simulator development as puncture data of these anatomies has not been previously reported.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cricoid Cartilage / surgery
  • Humans
  • Neck
  • Punctures
  • Trachea*
  • Tracheotomy*