Examine the arterial supply of the thyroid gland (Figure 26.2). The superior thyroid artery, a branch of the external carotid artery, supplies blood to the superior part of the gland. The inferior part of the thyroid gland is supplied by the inferior thyroid artery, a branch of the thyrocervical trunk. The course of the inferior thyroid artery is important clinically because it crosses the recurrent (inferior) laryngeal nerve which is located in the tracheo-esophageal groove. The inferior laryngeal nerve may be injured when the inferior thyroid artery is ligated during surgical removal of the thyroid gland
Identify the three pairs of veins that convey blood from the thyroid gland. They are the inferior, middle, and superior thyroid veins (Figure 26.2).
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