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Arteries of the head and neck

Major arteries of the head and neck.

Your first video. Move on to the quiz below to solidify your knowledge



Hey everyone! It's Megan from Kenhub, and in today's tutorial, we will briefly talk about the arteries of the head and neck. In the following image, we can see the right and left common carotid arteries highlighted in green. The left one originates from the arch of the aorta and the right from the brachiocephalic artery before they divide to supply the head and neck regions.

The common carotid arteries split into two main branches – the internal carotid artery and the external carotid artery. The external carotid artery is the only division of the common carotid that gives branches to the neck region and supplies the external structures of the head and face. It has eight branches which can be remembered by the mnemonic Some Anatomists Like Freaking Out Poor Medical Students. We will work through these arteries in the following slides.

The first branch of the external carotid artery is the superior thyroid artery which supplies the superior portion of the thyroid gland, the infrahyoid muscles, and sternocleidomastoid. The superior thyroid artery branches into the superior laryngeal branch and the sternocleidomastoid branch supplying the larynx and the sternocleidomastoid muscle respectively.

The second branch is the ascending pharyngeal artery which branches off to supply the pharynx, the soft palate, the prevertebral muscles, the middle ear, and the cranial meninges.

The lingual artery is the third branch of the external carotid artery and it runs beneath the hyoglossus muscles as it branches into the deep lingual and sublingual arteries which supply the intrinsic muscles of the tongue and the floor of the mouth.

The fourth artery is the facial artery which gives branches to the tonsils, the palate and the submandibular glands.

The occipital artery is the fifth branch of the external carotid artery and it supplies the posterior region of the scalp. We can see it here highlighted in green.

Next, we have the posterior auricular artery which supplies the adjacent musculature, the parotid gland, the facial nerve also known as cranial nerve VII, the ear, and the scalp.

The maxillary artery is the larger of the two terminal branches of the external carotid artery. Its branches supply the external acoustic meatus, the tympanic membrane, the dura matter and the calvaria, the mandible, the gingivae, the teeth, the temporal muscle, the pterygoid muscle, the masseter muscle, and, finally, the buccinator muscle.

The other terminal branch is the superficial temporal artery which supplies only the temporal region of the scalp, as it is the smaller temporal branch and does not have additional named branches or divisions.

The internal carotid artery is the other arterial branch that stems from the common carotid artery. This artery is divided into seven segments called Bouthilier's segments which supply the brain, the eyes, and the forehead. So, the subclavian arteries give rise to the left and right vertebral arteries which in turn give rise to the basilar artery which supplies the brain. The thyrocervical trunk also comes from the subclavian arteries and then gives off several branches. These branches include the inferior thyroid artery, the ascending cervical artery, the transverse cervical artery, and the suprascapular artery.

Now that you just completed this video tutorial, then it’s time for you to continue your learning experience by testing and also applying your knowledge. There are three ways you can do so here at Kenhub. The first one is by clicking on our “start training” button, the second one is by browsing through our related articles library, and the third one is by checking out our atlas.

Now, good luck everyone, and I will see you next time.

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