Carotid triangle

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 2 Aug 2021

The carotid triangle is one of the paired triangles in the anterior triangle of the neck. The triangles of the neck are surgically focussed, first described from early dissection-based anatomical studies which predated cross-sectional anatomical description based on imaging (see deep spaces of the neck).



Important vascular structures are found within this triangle. It contains the bifurcation of the common carotid artery into internal and external carotid arteries.

The internal carotid artery initially lies postero-laterally to the external carotid artery. It then becomes posterior to it.

Branches of the external carotid artery are found in the triangle including:

Corresponding veins to these branches drain into the internal jugular vein.

Crossing both the internal and external carotid artery is the hypoglossal nerve.


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