External Carotid Artery

Monday, August 29, 2011

The external carotid artery is the branch of the common carotid artery that supplies blood to the face and tongue and external parts of the head. Beginning at the level of at the upper border of thyroid cartilage, it runs upward  in the neck until it reaches the level of the ear, where it forks into the superficial temporal and maxillary arteries within the parotid gland. As it goes up the neck, the external carotid artery gives off six smaller branches: the superior thyroid artery, the ascending pharyngeal artery, the lingual artery, facial artery, occipital artery, and posterior auricular artery. The external carotid artery is covered by the superficial fascia, Platysma, deep fascia muscle, and anterior margin of the Sternocleidomastoideus muscle.