External carotid artery
|Artery: External carotid artery|
|Arteries of the neck - right side. The external carotid artery arises from the common carotid artery - labeled Common caroti on the figure.|
|Plan of branches of internal maxillary artery. (External carotid labeled at bottom left.)|
|Latin||arteria carotis externa|
|Gray's||subject #144 551|
|Source||common carotid artery|
|Branches||superior thyroid, lingual, facial, ascending pharyngeal, occipital, posterior auricular, maxillary, superficial temporal|
The external carotid artery begins at the level of the upper border of thyroid cartilage, and, taking a slightly curved course, passes upward and forward, and then inclines backward to the space behind the neck of the mandible, where it divides into the superficial temporal and maxillary artery within the parotid gland.
It rapidly diminishes in size in its course up the neck, owing to the number and large size of the branches given off from it.
In the child, it is somewhat smaller than the internal carotid; but in the adult, the two vessels are of nearly equal size. At its origin, this artery is more superficial, and placed nearer the middle line than the internal carotid, and is contained within the carotid triangle.
The external carotid artery is covered by the skin, superficial fascia, Platysma, deep fascia, and anterior margin of the Sternocleidomastoideus; it is crossed by the hypoglossal nerve, by the lingual, ranine, common facial, and superior thyroid veins; and by the Digastricus and Stylohyoideus; higher up it passes deeply into the substance of the parotid gland, where it lies deep to the facial nerve and the junction of the temporal and internal maxillary veins.
Lateral to it, in the lower part of its course, is the internal carotid artery.
Posterior to it, near its origin, is the superior laryngeal nerve; and higher up, it is separated from the internal carotid by the Styloglossus and Stylopharyngeus, the glossopharyngeal nerve, the pharyngeal branch of the vagus, and part of the parotid gland.
From inferior to superior:
- Arising in carotid triangle**
- Posterior auricular artery-(arise from posterior aspect)
Mnemonics are traditionally used to commit these branches to memory. Perhaps referring to the medical school interviewing process, a commonly taught mnemonic for the external carotid branches is "Some Attendings Like Freaking Out Potential Medical Students." A similar but more memorable and vulgar mnemonic omits the minor Occipital. Another is "sister lucy's powdered face often attracts medical students"; "Some Ancient Lovers Find Old Positions More Stimulating." As well as, "Some Anatomists Like Fornicating, Others Prefer S & M" and "Some angry lady figured out PMS." and an Egyptian one: "Some American Ladies Find Our Pyramids So Magnificent.", "STop STop PAAP OF MLa" .Superficial Temporal, Superior Thyroid, Posterior Auricular, Ascending Pharyngeal, Occipital, Facial, Maxillary, Lingual. Also, "Stop Alcohol Late Friday Or Puke More Saturday". Another rather sexist mnemonic, which might speak for some to the allure of a career in surgery, is "Some adulterous ladies f*** only physicians, mainly surgeons." A crude but rather memorable mnemonic is "Some American Ladies Find Oriental Penis Super Massive". A useful one that considers both letters in two-worded arteries is "STop APpologizing, Lick Our Fannys PAST Midnight."
A memorable mnemonic appears in Samuel Shem’s classic novel The House of God (1978). Here Shem uses the older terms External maxillary artery for Facial artery and Internal maxillary artery for Maxillary artery. The Ascending pharyngeal and Superior thyroid appear in their correct sequence, while the names of the two terminal branches are reversed:
- Running through my mind, over and over like Muzak, was a mnemonic for the branches of the external carotid artery: As She Lay Extended Olaf’s Potato Slipped In. And even there, the only one I could remember was Olaf’s, which stood for Occipital. And what the hell use was that?
Another one: Some Arteries Lies On Face PluS Maxilla
The veins of the thyroid gland.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to External carotid artery.|
- External Carotid Artery and its branches | Medchrome
- lesson5 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University)
- lesson4 at The Anatomy Lesson by Wesley Norman (Georgetown University) (infratempfossaart)
- Diagram at umich.edu