Background: When performing thyroidectomy, knowledge of normal anatomy and variants is vital to avoid injuring nearby structures. Typically, the bilateral carotids course posterolateral to the thyroid gland. We describe a rare variant of an intrathyroidal carotid artery, not previously described in the literature. Methods: A 23-year-old woman with a strong family history of thyroid cancer presented with a left thyroid nodule, and a fine-needle aspiration biopsy revealing papillary thyroid carcinoma. She underwent total thyroidectomy. Results: Intraoperatively, the carotid was found coursing centrally through the right lobe parenchyma, associated with an ipsilateral nonrecurrent recurrent laryngeal nerve (NRLN) entering the cricothyroid joint superolaterally. Conclusion: This is, to our knowledge, the first report of such an anatomic variant in the medical literature. Aberrant carotid artery anatomy may potentially cause life-threatening surgical complications and should be considered preoperatively. Furthermore, recognition of concurrent recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) anomalies with vascular variations allows identification of nonrecurrent nerves.
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