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|Artery: External carotid artery|
|Arteries of the neck - right side. The external carotid artery arises from the common carotid artery - labeled Common caroti on the figure.|
|Plan of branches of internal maxillary artery. (External carotid labeled at bottom left.)|
|Latin||arteria carotis externa|
|Gray's||subject #144 551|
|From||common carotid artery|
|To||superior thyroid, lingual, facial, ascending pharyngeal, occipital, posterior auricular, maxillary, superficial temporal|
The external carotid artery begins at the level of the upper border of thyroid cartilage, and, taking a slightly curved course, passes upward and forward, and then inclines backward to the space behind the neck of the mandible, where it divides into the superficial temporal and maxillary arteries after passing through the parotid gland.
It rapidly diminishes in size in its course up the neck, owing to the number and large size of the branches given off from it.
In the child, it is somewhat smaller than the internal carotid; but in the adult, the two vessels are of nearly equal size. At its origin, this artery is more superficial, and placed nearer the middle line than the internal carotid, and is contained within the carotid triangle.
The external carotid artery is covered by the skin, superficial fascia, Platysma, deep fascia, and anterior margin of the Sternocleidomastoideus; it is crossed by the hypoglossal nerve, by the lingual, ranine, common facial, and superior thyroid veins; and by the Digastricus and Stylohyoideus; higher up it passes deeply into the substance of the parotid gland, where it lies deep to the facial nerve and the junction of the temporal and internal maxillary veins.
Lateral to it, in the lower part of its course, is the internal carotid artery.
Posterior to it, near its origin, is the superior laryngeal nerve; and higher up, it is separated from the internal carotid by the Styloglossus and Stylopharyngeus, the glossopharyngeal nerve, the pharyngeal branch of the vagus, and part of the parotid gland.
- Arising in carotid triangle
- Superior thyroid artery
- Ascending pharyngeal artery
- Lingual artery
- Facial artery
- Occipital artery
- Posterior auricular artery
- Terminal branches
- Maxillary artery
- Superficial temporal artery
Mnemonics are traditionally used to commit these branches to memory.
Mnemonics using modern terminology include "Some Anatomists Like Freaking Out Poor Medical Students", "Some Anatomists Like Fxxking, Others Prefer S&M", "Some Angry Lady Figured Out PMS", "Several Angry Ladies Fighting Over PMS", "Snoopy And Linus Fornicated On Papa’s Music Stand" and "Some Aggressive Lovers Find Odd Positions More Stimulating."
A memorable mnemonic appears in Samuel Shem’s classic novel The House of God (1978). Here Shem uses the older terms External maxillary artery for Facial artery and Internal maxillary artery for Maxillary artery. The Ascending pharyngeal and Superior thyroid appear in their correct sequence, while the names of the two terminal branches are reversed:
- Running through my mind, over and over like Muzak, was a mnemonic for the branches of the external carotid artery: As She Lay Extended Olaf’s Potato Slipped In. And even there, the only one I could remember was Olaf’s, which stood for Occipital. And what the hell use was that?
List of arteries of head and neck
superior thyroid (superior laryngeal) - lingual (sublingual)
facial: cervical branches (ascending palatine, tonsillar, submental, glandular) - facial branches (inferior labial, superior labial, lateral nasal, angular)
|Posterior and ascending: CC/EC||
occipital - posterior auricular (stylomastoid) - ascending pharyngeal (meningeal branches)
|Terminal, superficial temporal: CC/EC||
transverse facial - middle temporal (zygomaticoörbital) - anterior auricular - frontal - parietal
|Terminal, maxillary: CC/EC||
1st part: anterior tympanic - deep auricular - middle meningeal (superior tympanic) - accessory meningeal - inferior alveolar (mylohyoid)
|portions #1 and 2: CC/IC||
cervical portion (carotid sinus) - petrous portion (Vidian, caroticotympanic)
|cavernous portion/ophthalmic: CC/IC||
orbital group: lacrimal (lateral palpebral) - supraorbital - posterior ethmoidal - anterior ethmoidal - medial palpebral - supratrochlear - dorsal nasal
|cerebral portion: CC/IC|
|vertebral artery: SC|
|thyrocervical trunk: SC||
inferior thyroid (inferior laryngeal, tracheal, esophageal, ascending cervical) - suprascapular - transverse cervical - dorsal scapular
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