Superior thyroid artery

The superior thyroid artery is located within the neck. Branching off from the external carotid artery, this blood vessel runs past the greater cornu of the hyoid bone (the hyoid’s back-most part) and ends at the thyroid gland, which is located in the center of the neck, just above the collarbone. In terms of function, the superior thyroid artery delivers oxygenated blood to the thyroid and surrounding tissues.

The superior thyroid artery features several offshoots. The hyoid artery serves the area protected by the hyoid bone, while the sternocleidomastoid serves a muscle of a similar name. The two other branches include the superior laryngeal and the cricothyroid arteries. The superior laryngeal supplies the larynx, or voice box, while the cricothyroid travels through the cricothyroid membrane (located under the thyroid) and connects to the artery on the other side. 

The neck also contains the superior thyroid vein, which should not be confused with the superior thyroid artery. This vein drains deoxygenated away from the thyroid and surrounding areas. The body's system of veins transports deoxygenated blood back to the lungs, while the arterial system provides blood to all the organs and extremities.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Superior thyroid artery

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