Thyrolingual trunk arising from the common carotid artery identified by three-dimensional computed tomography angiography.

Research paper by Toshinori T Iwai, Toshiharu T Izumi, Tomio T Inoue, Jiro J Maegawa, Nobukazu N Fuwa, Kenji K Mitsudo, Iwai I Tohnai

Indexed on: 10 Jun '11Published on: 10 Jun '11Published in: Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy


It is well-known that the branches of the external carotid artery (ECA) can show anatomical variation, but it is extremely rare that thyrolingual trunk originates from common carotid artery (CCA). Here we report a case of the thyrolingual trunk arising from the CCA on the right side in a 73-year-old female as revealed by three-dimensional computed tomography angiography for vascular mapping of the carotid vessels before head and neck microsurgical reconstruction. The thyrolingual trunk arose from the anterior surface of the right CCA, with an origin 14.5 mm (difference between the carotid bifurcation and upper border of the origin 12.7 mm) below the carotid bifurcation. The inner diameter of origin of the thyrolingual trunk was 3.5 mm, and the angle between the thyrolingual trunk and the CCA was 130°. After a 10.2-mm course, the thyrolingual trunk divided into the superior thyroid artery (STA) and lingual artery (LA). The inner diameters of the origins of the STA and LA were 1.7 and 1.9 mm, respectively, and the angle between the branches was 94°. It is important to recognize this anatomic variation of the branches of the ECA before the microsurgical reconstruction or super-selective intra-arterial chemotherapy for head and neck cancer.