An unusual origin and course of the thyroidea ima artery, with absence of inferior thyroid artery bilaterally

Surg Radiol Anat. 2019 Feb;41(2):235-237. doi: 10.1007/s00276-018-2122-1. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


We report an unusual origin and course of the thyroidea ima artery in a male cadaver. The ima artery originated from the right subclavian artery very close to origin of the right vertebral artery. The artery coursed anteriorly between the common carotid artery medially and internal jugular vein laterally. It then coursed obliquely, from below upwards, from lateral to medial superficial to common carotid artery, to reach the inferior pole of the right lobe of thyroid and branched repeatedly to supply the anteroinferior and posteroinferior aspects of both the thyroid lobes and isthmus. The superior thyroid arteries were normal. Both the inferior thyroid arteries were absent. The unusual feature of this thyroidea ima artery is its origin from the subclavian artery close to vertebral artery origin, the location being remarkably far-off from the usual near midline position, and the oblique and relatively superficial course. This report is a caveat to neck surgeons to consider such a superficially running vessel to be a thyroidea ima artery.

Keywords: Artery of Neubauer; Blood supply of thyroid; Thyroid vascular anatomy; Thyroidea ima artery; Variations.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomic Variation*
  • Cadaver
  • Carotid Artery, Common / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Middle Aged
  • Subclavian Artery / anatomy & histology*
  • Thyroid Gland / blood supply*
  • Vertebral Artery / anatomy & histology*