OBJECTIVE: Cricothyrotomy and tracheostomy are performed by physicians in various disciplines. It is important to know the comprehensive anatomy of the laryngotracheal region. Hemorrhage, esophageal injury, recurrent laryngeal nerve injury, pneumothorax, hemothorax, false passage of the tube and tracheal stenosis after decannulation are well known complications of the cricothyrotomy and tracheostomy. Cricothyrotomy and tracheostomy should be performed without complications and as quickly as possible with regards the patients' clinical condition. METHODS: A total of 40 cadaver necks were dissected in this study. The trachea and larynx and the relationship between the trachea and larynx and the surrounding structures was investigated. The tracheal cartilages and annular ligaments were counted and the relationship between tracheal cartilages and the thyroid gland and vascular structures was investigated. We performed cricothyrotomy and tracheostomy in eleven cadavers while simulating intensive care unit conditions to determine the duration of those procedures. RESULTS: There were 11 tracheal cartilages and 10 annular ligaments between the cricoid cartilage and sternal notch. The average length of trachea between the cricoid cartilage and the suprasternal notch was 6.9 to 8.2 cm. The cricothyroid muscle and cricothyroid ligament were observed and dissected and no vital anatomic structure detected. The average length and width of the cricothyroid ligament was 8 to 12 mm and 8 to 10 mm, respectively. There was a statistically significant difference between the surgical time required for cricothyrotomy and tracheostomy (p < 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Tracheostomy and cricothyrotomy have a low complication rate if the person performing the procedure has thorough knowledge of the neck anatomy. The choice of tracheostomy or cricothyrotomy to establish an airway depends on the patients' clinical condition, for instance; cricothyrotomy should be preferred in patients with cervicothoracal injury or dislocation who suffer from respiratory dysfunction. Furthermore; if a patient is under risk of hypoxia or anoxia due to a difficult airway, cricothyrotomy should be preferred rather than tracheostomy.