|An example of male laryngeal prominence.|
|Precursor||4th and 6th branchial arch|
The Adam's apple - more clinically known as the laryngeal prominence - is a feature of the human neck. This lump, or protrusion, is formed by the angle of the thyroid cartilage surrounding the larynx.
The laryngeal prominence is usually more prominent in adult men than in women or prepubescent girls or boys. Note that the growth of the larynx itself during puberty is responsible for the vocal instability in teenage boys, not the laryngeal prominence. The laryngeal prominence is merely the protrusion one sees of the thyroid cartilage making up the body of the larynx. Some suggest that the reason for the laryngeal prominence usually being more prominent in males is that the two laminae of the thyroid cartilage that form the protrusion meet at an angle of 90° in males but that angle is usually 120° in females. This theory, however, seems more like conjecture when the fact is taken into consideration that with most women with a large laryngeal prominence appear no different from those seen on men.
A prominent laryngeal prominence is commonly considered a male secondary sex characteristic though this is more of a perception than anything pointing to scientific fact since not all males have large laryngeal prominence and there are quite a few women who do.
The laryngeal prominence can be more prominent than desired, and this is sometimes remedied by a chondrolaryngoplasty (thyroid chondroplasty), a type of plastic surgery to reduce the size of the laryngeal prominence. This surgery is not without risk as it can adversely affect the voice and cause permanent damage as well as leaving a visible scar. This surgery can be part of sex reassignment therapy for male-to-female transgender or transsexual people (transwomen).