A 50-year-old man undergoes parathyroidectomy for treatment-resistant hyperparathyroidism. The procedure is complicated by brisk bleeding from an artery that travels along the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve. To stop the bleeding, the artery is ligated at its origin. Which of the following is most likely the origin of the artery that was injured in this patient?
Internal carotid artery
External carotid artery
Answer C) External carotid artery
Explanation: The superior thyroid artery travels along the superior laryngeal nerve.
The superior thyroid artery is a direct branch of the external carotid artery.
After the carotid artery bifurcates in the carotid triangle, the superior thyroid artery arises as the first branch of the external carotid artery and supplies the cranial half of the thyroid gland before forming an anastomotic network with the inferior thyroid artery.
- The artery travels with the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve and pierces the thyroid gland at the superior pole. Therefore, bleeding from the superior thyroid artery would be controlled by ligating it at its origin from the external carotid artery.