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Henry Gray (1825–1861).  Anatomy of the Human Body.  1918.
 
origin, this artery is more superficial, and placed nearer the middle line than the internal carotid, and is contained within the carotid triangle.

Relations.—The external carotid artery is covered by the skin, superficial fascia, Platysma, deep fascia, and anterior margin of the Sternocleidomastoideus; it is crossed by the hypoglossal nerve, by the lingual, ranine, common facial, and superior thyroid veins; and by the Digastricus and Stylohyoideus; higher up it passes deeply into the substance of the parotid gland, where it lies deep to the facial nerve and the junction of the temporal and internal maxillary veins. Medial to it are the hyoid bone, the wall of the pharynx, the superior laryngeal nerve, and a portion of the parotid gland. Lateral to it, in the lower part of its course, is the internal carotid artery. Posterior to it, near its origin, is the superior laryngeal nerve; and higher up, it is separated from the internal carotid by the Styloglossus and Stylopharyngeus, the glossopharyngeal nerve, the pharyngeal branch of the vagus, and part of the parotid gland.

Branches.—The branches of the external carotid artery may be divided into four sets.
Anterior. Posterior. Ascending. Terminal.
Superior Thyroid. Occipital. Ascending Superficial Temporal.
Lingual. Posterior Auricular. Pharyngeal. Internal Maxillary.
External Maxillary.
  1. The superior thyroid artery (a. thyreoidea superior) (Fig. 507) arises from the external carotid artery just below the level of the greater cornu of the hyoid bone and ends in the thyroid gland.

Relations.—From its origin under the anterior border of the Sternocleidomastoideus it runs upward and forward for a short distance in the carotid triangle, where it is covered by the skin, Platysma, and fascia; it then arches downward beneath the Omohyoideus, Sternohyoideus, and Sternothyreoideus. To its medial side are the Constrictor pharyngis inferior and the external branch of the superior laryngeal nerve.

Branches.—It distributes twigs to the adjacent muscles, and numerous branches to the thyroid gland, anastomosing with its fellow of the opposite side, and with the inferior thyroid arteries. The branches to the gland are generally two in number; one, the larger, supplies principally the anterior surface; on the isthmus of the gland it anastomoses with the corresponding artery of the opposite side: a second branch descends on the posterior surface of the gland and anastomoses with the inferior thyroid artery.
  Besides the arteries distributed to the muscles and to the thyroid gland, the branches of the superior thyroid are:
Hyoid.
Superior Laryngeal.
Sternocleidomastoid.
Cricothyroid.
  The Hyoid Branch (ramus hyoideus; infrahyoid branch) is small and runs along the lower border of the hyoid bone beneath the Thyreohyoideus and anastomoses with the vessel of the opposite side.
  The Sternocleidomastoid Branch (ramus sternocleidomastoideus; sternomastoid branch) runs downward and lateralward across the sheath of the common carotid artery, and supplies the Sternocleidomastoideus and neighboring muscles and integument; it frequently arises as a separate branch from the external carotid.
  The Superior Laryngeal Artery (a. laryngea superior), larger than either of the preceding, accompanies the internal laryngeal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve, beneath the Thyreohyoideus; it pierces the hyothyroid membrane, and supplies the muscles, mucous membrane, and glands of the larynx, anastomosing with the branch from the opposite side.
  The Cricothyroid Branch (ramus cricothyreoideus) is small and runs transversely across the cricothyroid membrane, communicating with the artery of the opposite side.

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