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Superior laryngeal vein

The superior laryngeal vein drains oxygen-depleted blood from the larynx, or voice box.

The superior laryngeal vein and artery emerge as the first branches of the superior thyroid vessels. (The sternocleidomastoid and cricothyroid veins are also tributaries of the superior thyroid vein.) Along with internal laryngeal nerve (one branch of the superior laryngeal nerve), these two vessels cross over the area between the middle and inferior constrictors, which is closed in by the thyrohyoid membrane. The middle and inferior constrictors are located near the middle of the neck. They help move food down into the esophagus. The inferior constrictor may also close to keep air from getting into the digestive system.

The superior laryngeal vein, artery, and nerve penetrate the thyrohyoid membrane, which is a tough, fibro-elastic layer of tissue in the upper throat that joins the upper margin of the thyroid cartilage and the upper margin of the back of the hyoid bone.

The superior laryngeal vein empties into the superior and middle thyroid veins, which in turn drain into the internal jugular vein. The internal jugular collects blood from the brain, head, face, and neck, and ultimately transports it back to the heart.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Superior laryngeal vein

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