Superior thyroid artery

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Artery: Superior thyroid artery
Plate 16 Zuckerkandl.jpg
Superficial dissection of the left side of the neck, showing the carotid and subclavian arteries.
The fascia and middle thyroid veins. (Superior thyroid artery labelled at upper left.)
Latin Arteria thyreoidea superior
Gray's p.552
Supplies thyroid
Source external carotid artery
Branches Hyoid (infrahyoid) artery
Sternocleidomastoid artery
Superior laryngeal artery
Cricothyroid artery
Vein superior thyroid vein

The superior thyroid artery arises from the external carotid artery just below the level of the greater cornu of the hyoid bone and ends in the thyroid gland.


From its origin under the anterior border of the Sternocleidomastoideus it runs upward and forward for a short distance in the carotid triangle, where it is covered by the skin, Platysma, and fascia; it then arches downward beneath the Omohyoideus, Sternohyoideus, and Sternothyreoideus.

To its medial side are the Constrictor pharyngis inferior and the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.


It distributes twigs to the adjacent muscles, and numerous branches to the thyroid gland, anastomosing with its fellow of the opposite side, and with the inferior thyroid arteries.

The branches to the gland are generally two in number;

Besides the arteries distributed to the muscles and to the thyroid gland, the branches of the superior thyroid are:[1]


This artery must be ligated at the thyroid when conducting a thyroidectomy. If the artery is severed, but not ligated, it will bleed profusely. In order to gain control of the bleeding the surgeon may need to extend the original incision laterally to gain access to its origin from the external carotid artery and ligate it there.

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Additional images[edit]


  1. ^ Mnemonic 136

External links[edit]

This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.