REVIEW PAPER
 
KEYWORDS
TOPICS
ABSTRACT
Introduction and objective:
The superior thyroid artery (STA) is one of the two paired arteries that constitute the arterial supply to the thyroid. In the traditional approach, it is described as a branch of the external carotid artery, originating directly above the bifurcation of the common carotid artery. Knowledge of its point of origin, course, and anatomical variations is essential for surgeons performing neck operations. The aim of this review is to provide information on anatomical differences in the origin and course of the superior thyroid artery, based on a review of current literature.

Review methods:
The review is based on 28 articles obtained from PubMed and ResearchGate databases using the key words ‘superior thyroid artery’, ‘superior thyroid artery anatomical variations’, ‘superior thyroid artery anatomy’, ‘superior thyroid artery variations’, ‘superior thyroid artery haemorrhage, published between 1928–2023.

Brief description of the state of knowledge:
The analysis of current literature revealed significant discrepancies in the points of origin of the STA. Depending on the studied population, the most common point of STA origin varied, and could be the branch from the external carotid artery (ECA), common carotid artery (CCA), or the bifurcation of the common carotid artery (CCB).

Conclusions:
The varying proportions of the STA origins highlight the particular importance of understanding anatomical variations in its origin, especially for surgeons involved in neck surgery to minimize complications after operations in this region. Differences in the proportions of specific origins among the described papers indicate the need for conducting more extensive studies on larger groups to better understand the variability of STA origins in a specific population.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The authors extended their gratitude to Magdalena Chmiel, MD, for creating the illustration for the review.
 
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