Side of neck, showing chief surface markings. (Nerves are yellow, arteries are red.)
The carotid triangle (or superior carotid triangle) is a portion of the anterior triangle of the neck.
Coverings and boundaries
It is bounded:
- posteriorly by the anterior border of the Sternocleidomastoid;
- Anteroinferiorly, by the superior belly of the Omohyoid
- Anterosuperiorly by the posterior belly of the digastric.
It is covered by the integument, superficial fascia, Platysma and deep fascia; ramifying in which are branches of the facial and cutaneous cervical nerves.
This space when dissected is seen to contain the upper part of the common carotid artery with the carotid sinus and the carotid body at its termination, which bifurcates opposite the upper border of the thyroid cartilage into the external and internal carotid. These vessels are somewhat concealed from view by the anterior margin of the Sternocleidomastoideus, which overlaps them.
The external and internal carotids lie side by side, the external being the more anterior of the two.
The following branches of the external carotid are also met with in this space:
- the superior thyroid artery, running forward and downward;
- the lingual artery, directly forward;
- the facial artery, forward and upward;
- the occipital artery, backward and upward;
- the ascending pharyngeal artery, directly upward on the medial side of the internal carotid.
The veins met with are:
- the internal jugular vein, which lies on the lateral side of the common and internal carotid arteries;
- and veins corresponding to the above-mentioned branches of the external carotid—viz.,
...all of which end in the internal jugular.
On the lateral side of the vessels, the accessory nerve runs for a short distance before it pierces the Sternocleidomastoideus; and on the medial side of the external carotid, just below the hyoid bone, the internal branch of the superior laryngeal nerve may be seen; and, still more inferiorly, the external branch of the same nerve.
The upper portion of the larynx and lower portion of the pharynx are also found in the front part of this space.
Carotid triangle's applied anatomy
- lesson5 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University) (necktriangle)
- lesson6 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
- Anatomy figure: 25:01-05 at Human Anatomy Online, SUNY Downstate Medical Center