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Facial artery

Artery: Facial artery
The arteries of the face and scalp. (External maxillary visible at bottom center.)
Outline of side of face, showing chief surface markings. (Label for "Ext. Max. Art." at bottom left.)
Latin arteria maxillaris externa
Gray's subject #144 553
Source external carotid artery
Branches Ascending palatine artery
Tonsillar branch
Submental artery
Glandular branches
Inferior labial artery
Superior labial artery
Lateral nasal branch
Angular artery (terminal branch)
Vein anterior facial vein, posterior facial vein
Dorlands/Elsevier a_61/12154265

The facial artery (external maxillary artery in older texts) is a branch of the external carotid artery that supplies structures of the face.



The facial artery arises in the carotid triangle from the external carotid artery a little above the lingual artery and, sheltered by the ramus of the mandible, passes obliquely up beneath the digastric and stylohyoid muscles, over which it arches to enter a groove on the posterior surface of the submandibular gland.

It then curves upward over the body of the mandible at the antero-inferior angle of the masseter; passes forward and upward across the cheek to the angle of the mouth, then ascends along the side of the nose, and ends at the medial commissure of the eye, under the name of the angular artery.

This vessel, both in the neck and on the face, is remarkably tortuous: in the former situation, to accommodate itself to the movements of the pharynx in deglutition; and in the latter, to the movements of the mandible, lips, and cheeks.



In the neck, its origin is superficial, being covered by the integument, platysma, and fascia; it then passes beneath the digastric and stylohyoid muscles and part of the submandibular gland, but superficial to the hypoglossal nerve.

It lies upon the middle pharyngeal constrictor and the superior pharyngeal constrictor, the latter of which separates it, at the summit of its arch, from the lower and back part of the tonsil.

On the face, where it passes over the body of the mandible, it is comparatively superficial, lying immediately beneath the dilators of the mouth. In its course over the face, it is covered by the integument, the fat of the cheek, and, near the angle of the mouth, by the platysma, risorius, and zygomaticus major. It rests on the buccinator and levator anguli oris, and passes either over or under the infraorbital head of the levator labii superioris.

The anterior facial vein lies lateral/posterior to the artery, and takes a more direct course across the face, where it is separated from the artery by a considerable interval. In the neck it lies superficial to the artery.

The branches of the facial nerve cross the artery from behind forward.

The facial artery anastomoses with (among others) the dorsal nasal artery of the internal carotid artery.


The branches of the facial artery are:

  • cervical
    • Ascending palatine artery
    • Tonsillar branch
    • Submental artery
    • Glandular branches
  • facial
    • Inferior labial artery
    • Superior labial artery
    • Lateral nasal branch to nasalis muscle
    • Angular artery - the terminal branch

Th lateral pterygoid muscle divides the facial artery into 3 parts.


Muscles supplied by the facial artery include:

  • buccinator
  • levator anguli oris
  • levator labii superioris
  • levator labii superioris alaeque nasi
  • levator veli palatini
  • masseter
  • mentalis
  • mylohyoid
  • nasalis
  • palatoglossus
  • palatopharyngeus
  • platysma
  • procerus
  • risorius
  • styloglossus
  • transverse portion of the nasalis

Additional images

See also

  • Transverse facial artery

This article was originally based on an entry from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy. As such, some of the information contained herein may be outdated. Please edit the article if this is the case, and feel free to remove this notice when it is no longer relevant.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Facial_artery". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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