Inferior tympanic artery

Last revised by Henry Knipe on 4 Mar 2023

The inferior tympanic artery is a small branch of the ascending pharyngeal artery that supplies the tympanic cavity.

  • origin: proximal neuromeningeal trunk of ascending pharyngeal artery

  • course: passage through tympanic canaliculus

  • termination: anastomosis with caroticotympanic artery

  • supply: tympanic cavity

The inferior tympanic artery most commonly arises from the proximal aspect of the neuromeningeal trunk, the posteriorly oriented branch of the ascending pharyngeal artery1.

It passes through the tympanic canaliculus in the petrous temporal bone with the tympanic branch of the glossopharyngeal nerve (Jacobson nerve), anastomosing with tympanic arteries to supply the medial wall of the tympanic cavity.

It can also supply anastomotic branches to the petrosquamosal branch of the middle meningeal artery and the stylomastoid artery.

  • can arise as separate branch between the pharyngeal and neuromeningeal trunks of the ascending pharyngeal artery 1

  • in cases of aberrant internal carotid artery, the inferior tympanic artery, anastomosing with an enlarged caroticotympanic (embryologic hyoid) artery, takes on the role of the absent internal carotid artery 2

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