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Blood vessels of the pharynx

Learning objectives

This study unit will allow you to:

  1. Identify the arteries that supply the pharynx.
  2. Name the veins that drain the pharynx.

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The pharynx is an anatomical structure with a very rich blood supply. The upper parts of the pharynx are supplied by branches of the external carotid artery, while the lower parts are supplied by branches from the subclavian artery. Other important arteries are closely related to the pharynx but do not necessarily supply it with blood. The venous drainage of this region is done through a network of pharyngeal veins that form a venous plexus.

Want to explore this topic further? Take a look at our video below!

Take a quiz

Solidify your knowledge of the blood vessels of the pharynx by taking our quiz below.

Customize your own quiz with our custom quiz creator. On the link below, you’ll find the preset for a quiz about all the structures of the pharynx that you can modify to fit your needs.

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the blood vessels of the pharynx with our atlas galleries below:

This first gallery explores the structures from a posterior perspective.

This second gallery shows the blood vessels from a lateral perspective.


Key points about the blood vessels of the pharynx
Upper parts of the pharynx Supplied by branches of external carotid artery:

Ascending pharyngeal artery
Ascending palatine and tonsillar branches of the facial artery
Branches of the lingual artery
Branches of the maxillary artery
Lower parts of the pharynx Supplied by branches of subclavian artery:

Pharyngeal branches of inferior thyroid artery (from thyrocervical trunk)

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