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FONA Essential Anatomy



what are those lumps


What am I feeling?. Am I in the right place? Can I be confident that I’m not going to injure something important?

These are the practical questions you will ask yourself as you pick up that scalpel, and if you can’t answer them, then you might be inclined to delay or worse not perform FONA at all.

Don’t do that. Instead, get comfortable with ONLY the clinically relevant anatomy, and use the expert tips here to assure yourself you’re in the right place. Getting started on the next leg of your journey to cultivate a FEARLESS FONA MINDSET is as easy as scrolling down.

External Landmarks

External Landmarks simplified

This is as easy as it gets. Extend the neck. Now feel for the biggest lump in the middle (that’s the thyroid cartilage). Now feel the hard ring below it (that’s the cricoid cartilage). Now feel the soft bouncy part in between them? That’s your target. The cricothyroid membrane.

Honestly there is no reason to make it any more complicated. If you want a deeper dive the anatomy the video below is our favorite. Just remember, it’s not helpful to clutter your thinking with

Dive Deeper

curated med ed

This video by Andy Neill MD, is a great deep dive into the clinically relevant anatomy for performing a cricothyroidotomy if you’re interested. The key take-home points? Most of the anatomy in the area is NOT RELEVANT, so don’t worry about it. Second, if you identify the CTM and stay midline, it’s very hard to cause serious injury, so again, DON’T WORRY.


  1. Stay midline and stay out of trouble
  2. Bleeding is expected so don’t worry
  3. Posterior cartilage is a backstop so you can’t go too deep

Curated MedEd


No discussion of anatomy would be complete without the greatest performance of FONA anatomy palpation of all time. Truly a GOAT!. Follow the @sangrialovingairwaydoc for a another great social network learning builder.

HANDS-ON training

Remember, if you’re in one of our pop-up learning spaces or a PAC Live event, find this icon and use the multimedia tools for hands-on guided practice.

  1. Look for this icon.
  2. Snap the QR code.
  3. Begin your hands-on practice.
  4. Get feedback on your skills.

Don’t forget to ask our faculty coaches for real-time expert feedback and earn points!

User Guide

Keep yourself on track and get credit for completion using this guide.

  1. Open the guide to a tab on your browser.
  2. Visit each poster & review the content.
  3. Complete any challenges to earn points.

What’s Next

Guided Practice

Congratulations! You’ve completed this section of the learning space. Collect all the available points before moving on to the next poster to explore all the interactive and hands-on learning opportunities. 

Online Only

If you can’t be with us in person, you can still use this enhanced digital content as an online course. Visit the digital home page of this learning space by using the link below. Otherwise, head to the next poster above to continue through the physical learning space.

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