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Middle thyroid vein

The middle thyroid vein is another blood vessel that drains the thyroid gland. It arises from the confluence of smaller veins that are found on the lateral surface of the thyroid lobe at its middle aspect. Each person usually has one middle thyroid vein on each side of the gland. However, these veins might also be absent.

The middle thyroid vein is the shortest among the thyroid veins. After it emerges, it travels in the lateral direction, crosses the anterior aspect of the carotid artery and flows into the internal jugular vein. Alternatively, some studies have shown that it may drain into the brachiocephalic or vertebral veins.

Veins of the head and neck, Superficial veins of the neck, Thyroid veins, Middle thyroid vein, Thyroid gland, Thyroid plexus, Tributaries of middle thyroid vein, Anterior view
Middle thyroid vein by

Along its course, the middle thyroid vein might receive veins from the larynx and trachea. The middle thyroid vein mostly drains the middle aspect of the thyroid gland. However, it also receives deoxygenated blood from the upper and inferior aspects of the thyroid lobe.

It is important to note that the middle thyroid vein crosses the recurrent laryngeal nerve. Both these structures can get damaged during thyroid surgery.