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Superior thyroid artery

Artery: Superior thyroid artery
Superficial dissection of the right side of the neck, showing the carotid and subclavian arteries.
The fascia and middle thyroid veins. (Superior thyroid artery labeled at upper right.)
Latin arteria thyreoidea superior
Gray's subject #144 552
Supplies thyroid
Source external carotid artery
Branches Hyoid (infrahyoid) artery
Sternocleidomastoid artery
Superior laryngeal artery
Cricothyroid artery
Vein superior thyroid vein
Dorlands/Elsevier a_61/12156385

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; one, the larger, supplies principally the anterior surface; on the isthmus of the gland it anastomoses with the corresponding artery of the opposite side: a second branch descends on the posterior surface of the gland and anastomoses with the inferior thyroid artery.

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

  • Hyoid (infrahyoid) artery
  • Sternocleidomastoid artery
  • Superior laryngeal artery
  • Cricothyroid artery

Hyoid (infrahyoid) branch

The Hyoid Branch (ramus hyoideus; infrahyoid branch) is small and runs along the lower border of the hyoid bone beneath the Thyreohyoideus and anastomoses with the vessel of the opposite side.

Sternocleidomastoid branch

The Sternocleidomastoid branch (ramus sternocleidomastoideus; sternomastoid branch) runs downward and lateralward across the sheath of the common carotid artery, and supplies the Sternocleidomastoideus and neighboring muscles and integument; it frequently arises as a separate branch from the external carotid.

Superior laryngeal artery

The superior laryngeal artery, larger than either of the preceding, accompanies the internal laryngeal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, beneath the Thyreohyoideus

Cricothyroid branch

The Cricothyroid Branch (ramus cricothyreoideus) is small and runs transversely across the cricothyroid membrane, communicating with the artery of the opposite side.

See also

  • Inferior thyroid artery

Additional images


  1. ^ Mnemonic at 136

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Superior_thyroid_artery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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