Ascending pharyngeal artery

Last revised by Dr Francis Fortin on 24 Feb 2020

The ascending pharyngeal artery, the smallest branch of the external carotid artery, is a long, slender vessel, deeply seated in the neck, beneath the other branches of the external carotid and under the stylopharyngeus.

It arises from the back part of the external carotid, near the carotid bifurcation and ascends vertically between the internal carotid and the side of the pharynx, to the under surface of the base of the skull, lying on the longus capitis.

Very rarely, the ascending pharyngeal artery can arise directly from the internal carotid artery 4,5 or from a common trunk with the occipital artery 5.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: arteries of the neck
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  • Figure 2: branches of the carotid
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  • Case 1: variant arising from ICA
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