Facial artery

The facial artery is one of the branches of the external carotid artery and supplies blood to the structures of the face.

  • origin: branch of the external carotid artery a little above the level of the lingual artery, in the carotid triangle of the neck
  • course: passes deep to the posterior belly of the digastric muscle, the stylohyoid muscle and the submandibular gland; it then continues its tortuous course over the inferior border of the mandible towards the nasolabial fold
  • branches
    • cervical
      • ascending palatine artery
      • tonsillar branch
      • submental artery
      • glandular branches
    • facial
      • inferior labial artery
      • superior labial artery
      • lateral nasal branch
  • termination: anterior face as angular artery (terminal branch)

Variant anatomy

The facial artery may arise from a common trunk with the lingual artery, the linguofacial trunk.

History and etymology

The facial artery was previously known as the external maxillary artery, e.g. old editions of Gray's anatomy 1. This was in contradistinction to the internal maxillary artery which is now known simply as the maxillary artery.

Head and neck anatomy
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Article information

rID: 5910
Section: Anatomy
Tag: refs, cases
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Facial arteries

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Cases and figures

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    Figure 1: branches of the external carotid artery
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    Figure 2: branches of the carotid
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    Figure 3: facial artery and branches
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