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Yousun Koh

Main arteries of the head and neck (English)

Main arteries of the head and neck (English)

Left lateral view. The head and neck receives the majority of their blood supply through two paired arteries and their branches: the common carotid artery and the subclavian artery. The right common carotid artery (not shown) arises from the brachiocephalic trunk, while the left common carotid artery branches directly from the aortic arch. Both right and left common carotid arteries bifurcate in the neck at the level of the thyroid cartilage of the larynx into the internal and external carotid arteries. The internal carotid artery is one of the main vessels supplying the brain via the cerebral arterial circle (circle of Willis). It does not give off any cervical branches. It enters the cranial cavity through the external opening of the carotid canal. Within the cranial cavity, the internal carotid artery ultimately divides into its two terminal branches, the anterior and middle cerebral arteries (not seen here).The external carotid artery gives off eight major branches that provide arterial supply to the head and face: the superior thyroid, ascending pharyngeal, lingual, facial, occipital, posterior auricular, maxillary and superficial temporal arteries. The maxillary and superficial temporal arteries form the two terminal branches of the external carotid artery. The maxillary artery generally supplies the deep structures of the face, while the facial and superficial temporal arteries contribute to the arterial supply of the superficial areas of the face. The neck mainly obtains its blood supply through branches of the subclavian artery. The subclavian artery gives rise to the paired vertebral arteries, which not only provide blood supply to the upper part of the spinal cord, but more importantly, fuse to form the basilar artery, the second main vessel that supplies the brain. In addition to the vertebral arteries, major branches of the subclavian artery providing blood supply to structures of the neck include the thyrocervical and costocervical trunks. These give rise to further branches that supply structures in the neck and shoulder region, e.g. inferior thyroid artery, transverse cervical artery etc.
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