Anat Cell Biol.  2016 Jun;49(2):138-142. 10.5115/acb.2016.49.2.138.

Anatomical considerations of the superior thyroid artery: its origins, variations, and position relative to the hyoid bone and thyroid cartilage

  • 1Department of Occupational Therapy, Semyung University, Jecheon, Korea.


The aim of this study was to provide accurate anatomical descriptions of the overall anatomy of the superior thyroid artery (STA), its relationship to other structures, and its driving patterns. Detailed dissection was performed on thirty specimens of adult's cadaveric neck specimens and each dissected specimen was carefully measured the following patterns and distances using digital and ruler. The superior thyroid, lingual, and facial arteries arise independently from the external carotid artery (ECA), but can also arise together, as the thyrolingual or linguofacial trunk. We observed that 83.3% of STAs arose independently from the major artery, while 16.7% of the cases arose from thyrolingual or linguofacial trunk. We also measured the distance of STA from its major artery. The origin of the STA from the ECA was 0.9±0.4 mm below the hyoid bone. The STA was 4.4±0.5 mm distal to the midline at the level of the laryngeal prominence and 3.1±0.6 mm distal to the midline at the level of the inferior border of thyroid cartilage. The distance between STA and the midline was similar at the level of the hyoid bone and the thyroid cartilage. Also, when the STA is near the inferior border of the thyroid cartilage, it travels at a steep angle to the midline. This latter point may be particularly important in thyroidectomies. We hope that anatomical information provided here will enhance the success of, and minimize complications in, surgeries that involve STA.


Superior thyroid artery; Driving patterns; Distance; Cadaveric study

MeSH Terms

Carotid Artery, External
Hyoid Bone*
Lingual Thyroid
Thyroid Cartilage*
Thyroid Gland*
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