Thyroid and parathyroid glands
This study unit will help you to:
- Describe the anatomy of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- Understand the neurovascular supply of the thyroid and parathyroid glands.
- Name the functions of thyroid and parathyroid glands.
The thyroid and parathyroid glands are endocrine organs, located in the neck, anterior and lateral to the trachea and larynx. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones regulating metabolism. It consists of two lobes, an isthmus, and pyramidal lobe, all of which are supplied by the superior and inferior thyroid arteries. Venous drainage occurs via the superior, middle, and inferior thyroid veins. The thyroid gland receives sympathetic and parasympathetic innervation from the three cervical sympathetic ganglia and branches of the vagus nerve, respectively.
The parathyroid glands, located on the back of the thyroid gland, participate in regulating blood calcium levels. Their neurovascular supply is similar to that of the thyroid gland.
The following video will provide you with an overview of the thyroid and parathyroid glands, and their neurovascular supply.
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Explore the thyroid and parathyroid glands as well as surrounding structures in the following atlas gallery:
Left and right lobes, isthmus, pyramidal lobe (variably present)
Four lentil-shaped glands located on back of each lobe of thyroid gland
Arterial supply: Superior thyroid artery (from external carotid artery) and inferior thyroid artery (from thyrocervical trunk), thyroid ima artery may be present occasionally
Venous drainage: Superior, middle and inferior thyroid veins which form thyroid plexus
Innervation: Three cervical sympathetic ganglia, external branch of superior laryngeal nerve and recurrent laryngeal nerve
Arterial supply: Inferior thyroid artery
Venous drainage: Thyroid plexus
Innervation: Three cervical sympathetic ganglia
Produces thyroid hormones and regulates metabolism
Participate in regulating blood calcium levels
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