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Inferior thyroid artery
Other Terms: Arteria thyroidea inferior, Artère thyroïdienne inférieure
The inferior thyroid artery is the largest branch of the thyroid axis thyrocervical trunk. It passes obliquely upward and medial behind the internal jugular vein and in front of the vertebral artery. Then it passes medial behind the sheath of the common carotid artery and the cervical sympathetic to the deep surface of the lateral lobe of the thyroid gland, which it supplies. Within the thyroid gland, it anastomoses with the superior thyroid artery and the inferior thyroid artery of the opposite side. It turns medially just below the carotid tubercle and crosses behind the sheath of the vessels at about the level of the tendon of the omohyoid muscle. The recurrent laryngeal nerve crosses anterior or posterior to the artery as it turns down to enter the thyroid gland. The middle cervical of the cervical sympathetic rests upon the inferior thyroid artery. It gives off the following branches: ascending cervical, laryngeal, tracheal, esophageal, and muscular. The ascending cervical artery arises from the inferior thyroid behind the internal jugular vein. It runs up the neck close to the tips of the transverse processes of the cervical vertebra, in the groove between the anterior scalene and the longus capitis muscles, and to the medial side of the phrenic nerve. Its branches to the muscles of the neck communicate with the muscular branches of the vertebral artery. Others enter the intervertebral foramina to reach the bodies of the vertebrae and the spinal cord and its meninges. It anastomoses with the vertebral, ascending pharyngeal, and branches of the occipital artery. It sends a branch to the phrenic nerve. The inferior laryngeal artery accompanies the recurrent laryngeal nerve. It supplies the muscles and mucous membrane of the larynx. It anastomoses with the superior laryngeal artery. The tracheal branches ramify upon the trachea, the lower ones anastomosing with the bronchial arteries. The esophageal branches supply the esophagus. It runs parallel with the continuation of the inferior thyroid artery. The muscular branches supply the muscles of the lower anterior part of the neck. The inferior thyroid artery is not accompanied by the corresponding vein.
Arteria thyroidea inferior
Artère thyroïdienne inférieure