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Sternothyroid muscle

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The sternothyroid muscle (or sternothyroideus) is an infrahyoid muscle of the neck. It acts to depress the hyoid bone.

Table of contents
  1. Structure
  2. Clinical significance

Image gallery

Sternothyroideus Gray


The two muscles are in contact with each other proximally (close their origin), but diverge distally (towards their insertions).


The sternothyroid arises from the posterior surface of the manubrium of the sternum (inferior to the origin of the sternohyoid muscle), and the posterior margin of the first costal cartilage.


It inserts onto the oblique line of the lamina of thyroid cartilage.


The sternothyroid muscle receives motor innervation from branches of the ansa cervicalis (ultimately derived from cervical spinal nerves C1-C3).


The sternothyroid muscle is shorter and wider than the sternohyoid muscle and is situated deep to and partially medial to it.


The muscle may be absent or doubled. It may issue accessory slips to the thyrohyoid muscle, inferior pharyngeal constrictor muscle, or the carotid sheath.


The sternothyroid muscle depresses the hyoid bone. When the hyoid bone is fixed, it instead elevates the larynx (producing an increased voice pitch).

Clinical significance

The upward extension of a thyroid swelling (goitre) is prevented by the attachment of the sternothyroid to the thyroid cartilage. A goitre can therefore only grow to the front, back or middle but no higher.

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