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Superior thyroid vein

The superior thyroid vein is a vein located in the neck. It originates within the thyroid gland, which lies near the center of the neck, just above the collarbone. It helps return blood to the heart that was supplied by the superior thyroid artery.

Tributary veins connect the superior thyroid to both the surface and the interior of the thyroid gland. The related middle thyroid vein is also connected to the thyroid gland.

Both the superior and middle thyroid veins drain into to the upper portion of the left internal jugular vein in the neck. The superior laryngeal vein and the cricothyroid vein connect to the superior thyroid as well, with blood flowing from these veins through the superior thyroid and into the internal jugular. From the internal jugular vein, the blood continues to the superior vena cava and into the heart.

Like the majority of veins in the neck and throat, the superior thyroid vein is not protected by bone and only minimally protected by cartilage. Injury to the neck may damage the superior thyroid or other major veins, potentially resulting in severe blood loss.

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

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