Tracheal transplantation: Superior and inferior thyroid artery perfusion territory

Jesse Salmeron, Patrick J. Gannon, Keith E. Blackwell, Christopher M. Shaari, Mark L. Urken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the perfusion territories of the superior and inferior thyroid arteries in humans. Tracheal transplantation is a potential option for management of long-segment tracheal stenosis. However, the maximum length of vascularized trachea that can be reliably transplanted has not been established. Study Design: The tracheal vascular territory of individual superior and inferior thyroid arteries was determined separately in 10 humans postmortem. Methods: India ink was infused unilaterally under controlled pressure into the superior (n = 5) and inferior (n = 5) thyroid arteries of cadaveric tracheas. Tracheas were sectioned longitudinally and the caudalmost extent of mucosal dye staining was determined via microscopic assessment. Results: The tracheal perfusion territory of the superior thyroid artery was two to five rings (1.7 ± 0.5 cm) and the inferior thyroid artery, nine to 13 rings (6.5 ± 1.1 cm). In both cases, the tracheal mucosa on the contralateral side was stained to the same caudal level. Conclusions: The inferior thyroid artery was shown to perfuse the trachea maximally to the 13th ring (8.1 cm). As such, the unilateral inferior thyroid artery would serve as a suitable vascular component for long-segment tracheal transplantation in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)849-853
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1998


  • Allograft
  • Homo sapiens
  • Microvascular anastomosis
  • Trachea transplantation
  • Tracheal stenosis


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