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|Branches||right common carotid artery
right subclavian artery
thyroid ima artery
There is no brachiocephalic artery for the left side of the body. The left common carotid, and the left subclavian artery, come directly off the aortic arch. However, there are two brachiocephalic veins.
The brachiocephalic artery arises, on a level with the upper border of the second right costal cartilage, from the start of the aortic arch, on a plane anterior to the origin of the left carotid artery. It ascends obliquely upward, backward, and to the right to the level of the upper border of the right sternoclavicular articulation, where it divides into the right common carotid artery and right subclavian arteries. The artery then crosses the trachea in front of it obliquely from the left to the right, roughly at the middle of the trachea or the level of the ninth tracheal cartilage.
In infants, it often divides cephalad to the sternoclavicular articulation, within the anterior triangle of the neck.
The innominate artery usually gives off no branches, but occasionally a small branch, the thyroid ima artery, arises from it. Other times, it gives off a thymic or bronchial branch.
It varies greatly in size, and appears to compensate for deficiency or absence of one of the other thyroid vessels. It occasionally arises from the aorta, the right common carotid, the subclavian or the internal mammary.
- Anatomy figure: 21:06-02 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center
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