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Maxillary artery

Maxillary artery and its branches.

Show transcript

Hello, everyone! This is Joao from Kenhub, and welcome to another anatomy tutorial where, right now, we’re going to be talking about the maxillary artery, also sometimes pronounced as maxillary artery.

Now, this structure supplies the deep structures of the face, and right now, we’re looking at it from a lateral… left lateral view, as you can see. This is going to be the maxillary artery that we’re going to be talking about. This artery branches off from this artery right here, which is known as the external carotid artery, just deep to the neck of the mandible.

And before we talk about the maxillary artery, I would like to highlight this one that I just briefly mentioned. This one is the external carotid artery. The external carotid artery is one of the two main divisions of the common carotid artery, the other one being the internal carotid artery.

The bifurcation of the common carotid occurs at the level of the thyroid cartilage, at which point, the external carotid climbs the lateral sides of the neck within the carotid sheath.

The external carotid gives off branches to the neck region and supplies the external structures of the head and face.

Now, let’s highlight the main structure that we’re focusing on on this tutorial, the maxillary artery. And the maxillary artery is one of the terminal branches of the external carotid, as we mentioned before. And its branches supply the deep structures of the face. In this tutorial, we will be talking about the different branches of the maxillary artery, which consists of three parts. So there are three parts that we can split this artery into. And then each part will have different… different branches that we’re going to be covering on this tutorial.

Now, the very first one, the very first part is going to be the mandibular part, which is also known as the first part coming out of the external carotid artery. So it should be around here.

And then, in the middle, we’re going to find a part known as the pterygoid part, and finally, we’re going to be looking at the pterygopalatine part, which is around the terminal end or the terminal part of the maxillary artery.

And we’re going to start off with the very first one here on the list, the mandibular part of the maxillary artery. There are a few branches that we’re going to be finding on this part of the maxillary artery, including the deep auricular, the anterior tympanic arteries, which are two arteries that we cannot see here on this image. So we’re going to leave them for another tutorial, but we’re going to be talking about the inferior alveolar artery, which happens to have two branches: the mylohyoid branch and the mental branch. And then finally, we’re going to be talking about the middle meningeal artery.

Let’s start off with this one that you see here, highlighted in green, and if you remember, this is, then, going to be the inferior alveolar artery. And this is a branch from the mandibular part of the maxillary artery, and it runs along with the inferior alveolar nerve and runs between the medial pterygoid muscle and the ramus of the mandible, before it exits through this foramen here, which we call the mental foramen of the mandible.

So you see here, then, the inferior alveolar artery exiting as a branch that we’re going to be talking about next. Now, we’re looking at this branch which we can call the mental branch of the inferior alveolar artery.

And this branch is going to be supplying the area of the chin, as you would expect from this image. And as a reminder, this is the terminal branch of the inferior alveolar artery that exits through the mental foramen of the mandible.

This one will be forming an anastomosis with the inferior labial and submental arteries.

Remember from that list, there is another branch coming out of the inferior alveolar artery, which you can see here a little bit, highlighted in green. Remember, this is the inferior alveolar artery, and then you have this branch here, which is known as the mylohyoid branch of the inferior alveolar artery.

And as the inferior alveolar artery enters the mandibular foramen, it will give off the mylohyoid branch, which runs in the mylohyoid groove and then supplies the muscle that gives its name, the mylohyoid muscle.

The next structure that we’re going to be highlighting here is also a part of the mandibular part or a branch of the mandibular part of the maxillary artery, and this one, we call it the middle meningeal artery.

This one runs upwards into the middle cranial fossa and supplies the dura mater. It also runs on the medial side of the lateral pterygoid muscle, passing through the foramen spinosum and the base of the skull.

You notice here that we have a few muscles here exposed. I just want to clarify here. We have the lateral pterygoids which are cut here, and then we have the medial pterygoid muscle, the masseter, and you have here, the buccinator, just for a few references here on this image.

Now, we’re going to continue on to the next part of the maxillary artery, if you remember from that previous list, we’re going to be talking about the pterygoid part. Now, this part also has a few branches that we’re going to be talking about: the masseteric artery, the deep temporal arteries, the pterygoid branches, and the buccal artery.

We’re going to start off with the very first one on the list that you now see here, highlighted in green. This is, then, the masseteric artery, which is a small artery and passes laterally through the mandibular notch to the deep surface of the masseter muscle, which supplies… which is going to be supplied by the masseteric artery, hence the name. And you notice here the masseter muscle.

The next one is one of the two deep temporal arteries that you see now, highlighted in green. This is known as the anterior deep temporal artery. And this artery is going to be supplying, then, the temporalis muscle.

And since we have an anterior deep temporal artery, we should have the next one that you see here, highlighted in green. This is going to be, then, for lack of better word, the posterior deep temporal artery. So as you can see, in anatomy, when we name structures, we always keep it simple.

Now, the posterior deep temporal artery is the second of the two deep temporal arteries, and it’s going to be supplying also the temporalis muscle as well as giving off branches to the pterygoid muscles.

Next on the list is going to be these branches that you see now, highlighted in green, which are the pterygoid branches of the maxillary artery. They are irregular in terms of number and also origin, but they’re going to be supplying the lateral pterygoid and also the medial pterygoid muscles.

The next highlight that you see here, this one is supplying the muscle… the buccal artery is supplying the buccinator muscle that you can clearly see here, as I mentioned before. This is the buccinators, but it also will be supplying, as you see here on the slide, the cheek and also the gingiva.

We’re now ready to move on to the last part of the maxillary artery, the pterygopalatine part, which also has a few branches that we’re going to be talking about, including the posterior superior alveolar arteries, the infraorbital artery, which will branch off as the anterior superior alveolar artery. We’re also going to be talking about the descending palatine artery, which has two branches: the major palatine artery and the minor palatine artery.

And finally, we’re going to be talking about the sphenopalatine artery.

Let’s start off with the very first one on the list that you now see, highlighted. This one is the posterior superior alveolar artery.

The posterior superior alveolar artery is a branch of the maxillary artery from the pterygopalatine part of this artery and will be supplying the maxillary sinus, the maxillary molars, and the gingiva.

The next one on our list that you’re going to be seeing here, highlighted, this is the infraorbital artery. This is a terminal branch of the maxillary artery that arises from the pterygopalatine part of the maxillary artery. It passes through the infraorbital foramen via the infraorbital fissure, groove, and canal.

The next one that we’re going to be seeing here, highlighted in green, you see a tiny, tiny structure here being highlighted, well, this is the branch known as the descending palatine artery. And this one branches off the maxillary artery in the pterygopalatine fossa and descends through the greater palatine canal, along with the greater palatine nerve, which in turn, comes from the pterygopalatine ganglion.

The next one, the next tiny, tiny structure that you see here on this zoomed in image that you see the highlight right about here, well, this one is known as the sphenopalatine artery. This is a branch of the maxillary artery which passes through the sphenopalatine foramen into the cavity of the nose at the back part of the superior meatus.

There, it will give off its posterior lateral nasal branches.

Now, we’re done covering the main branches of the maxillary artery, but I would like to continue on with other arteries that we can see here on this lateral view of the maxillary artery image—some structures, some arteries that are found in the proximity and have some sort of relation to the maxillary artery.

And we’re going to start off with this one here. Just a few notes on this highlight here. This is known as the superior temporal artery. And this one is one of the two terminal branches, along with the maxillary artery of the external carotid artery.

This one will give off a few branches which we’ll just list so you have it in your notes, but we cannot see it here from this cut or this section of the superficial temporal artery that you see here on this image. But this one will have the branches that are known as the transverse facial artery. It will come out of this superficial temporal artery.

We’re also going to see the zygomatico-orbital artery, the middle temporal artery. We’re going to see a parotid branch, the anterior auricular branches, a frontal branch, and also a parietal branch.

Next in line, we’re going to be highlighting this structure that you see here. This is known as the facial artery, and this is one of the branches of the external carotid as well. It supplies and gives off branches to these structures of the face. Notice here how it goes all the way from the external carotid all the way to the face.

Now, the facial artery also has a few branches that I would like to list here on this tutorial, just for your notes: the tonsilar, the grandular, and lateral nasal branches. We’re also going to be seeing the ascending palatine artery, the submental, the inferior labial, the superior labial, and finally, the angular artery, which happens to be the last one that we’re going to be talking about and seeing here, highlighted in green. So this is the angular artery.

And as I mentioned, this is going to be, then, the terminal branch of the facial artery. And this artery ascends to the medial angle of the orbit and forms, as you can see here on this image of the ventral view, or the front view, or anterior view (three ways of saying the same thing) where you see the anastomosis of the angular artery with the ophthalmic artery.

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