External Carotid Branches – 3D Anatomy Tutorial

External Carotid Branches – 3D Anatomy Tutorial


This is a tutorial on the branches of the
external carotid artery. It’s a very brief tutorial just to introduce you to the branches
and to help you to remember where they come off the external carotid artery. So we’re looking here at an anterior view.
We’ve got the vessels of the head and neck shown on the skeleton. You can see this pin
here shows the common carotid, the right common carotid. Just lateral to that, you’ve got
the right internal jugular vein. So if I just rotate the model around, we can
take a look at the external carotid artery. So I just removed the veins of the head and
neck. We’re just looking at the arterial system. So here we’ve got the common carotid artery
which is shown by this pin here. And then the common carotid splits into an external
and internal branch. So we’ve got the external carotid and internal carotid. So this pin
shows the internal carotid. So the carotid system supplies all the structures
in the head and neck. So the internal carotid artery doesn’t have any branches in the neck,
but the external carotid has eight branches. So you’ve got anterior branches, posterior
branches, terminal branches and you’ve got one medial branch. So we’ll take a look at
these various branches. As with many things in anatomy, there’s a
nice little mnemonic for remembering the branches of the external carotid. The one I use is
‘some ancient lovers find old positions more stimulating’. So it’s quite an easy one to
remember, quite a nice memorable mnemonic. Those branches are the superior thyroid, the
ascending pharyngeal, the lingual, the facial, the occipital, the posterior auricular and
then you’ve got the two terminal branches, the maxillary and the superficial temporal
arteries. So the first artery that comes off just after
the bifurcation of the common carotid is the superior thyroid artery. It’s this artery
pinned here. If we rotate it around, you can see how it descends and it actually descends
onto the superior pole of the thyroid gland. So just above the superior thyroid, we’ve
got the second branch, which is the ascending pharyngeal artery. You can see it here. So
as you can see, this branch comes medially off the external carotid artery — and kind
of posteriorly. So coming off anteriorly off the external
carotid artery, just above the superior thyroid artery is an artery called the lingual artery.
It’s not shown on this model, so I’ll just draw it on for diagrammatic purposes. So it
comes off around here. This is the lingual artery. Then the next artery coming off anteriorly
from the external carotid is the facial artery. In older texts, you might see this referred
to as the external maxillary artery, but it’s now referred to as the facial artery. You can see it’s coarse here, so it’s kind
of windy. And then it comes around over the edge of the mandible. It comes over the edge
of the mandible and anteriorly over the masseter muscle. And where it comes over the edge of
the mandible here, you can palpate it. You can feel your pulse if you put your finger
near to the angle of the mandible. You can feel the pulsation of the facial artery. So coming off just behind or roughly at the
same level of the facial artery from the posterior aspect of the external carotid, you’ve got
the next artery which is the occipital artery. So again, this one isn’t shown, so I’ll just
draw it on for diagrammatic purposes. It’s not anatomically accurate. So you’ve got this occipital artery here,
which comes off and its branches extends to the posterior side of the scalp. So that comes
off the posterior aspect of the external carotid about the same level as the facial artery. So again, coming off the posterior surface
of the external carotid artery, we’ve got the next branch which is the posterior auricular
artery. So you can see this artery here, which is pinned and it runs behind the ear. It gives
rise to the name ‘auricular’. So ‘posterior auricular means ‘behind the ear’. So the next two arteries are the terminal
branches of the external carotid. We’ve looked at six branches so far. And the way to remember
whether they come off anteriorly or posteriorly is quite simple. The way I do it is just thinking
of the structures. Think of the names and think of whether the structures that their
names relate to are anteriorly or posteriorly. So if we start off with the lowest branch,
the superior thyroid, the thyroid gland is an anterior structure. So the superior thyroid
artery is an anterior branch. Next up, we’ve got the lingual artery. Lingual refers to
tongue. The tongue is an anterior structure. So the lingual artery is an anterior branch. And then we’ve got the facial artery. The
face is anterior, so the facial artery is an anterior branch. And then posteriorly,
we’ve got the occipital artery. The occipital bone is the back of your skull. So the occipital
branch is a posterior branch. And then we’ve got the posterior auricular
branch. In the name, it says ‘posterior’, posterior auricular, behind the ear. That
is a posterior part of the body so it’s a posterior branch. And then you’ve got the
ascending pharyngeal, which is a medial branch. It’s kind of deep and medial and a little
bit posterior. So those are the six anterior, posterior and the medial branches. So the two terminal branches are the maxillary
artery and the superficial temporal artery. So the maxillary artery can be seen here.
This pin is stuck into the maxillary artery. The superficial temporal artery runs up the
superficially on the scalp. So it runs right up here. And then it branches into anterior
and posterior branches. So remember I said that the facial artery
is sometimes referred to as the external maxillary. The maxillary artery is referred to as the
internal maxillary in older textbooks. So if I just rotate the model around posteriorly,
we can see the maxillary artery running behind the neck of the mandible here. And if I rotate
it round again to the lateral view, you can see it passing medially to the neck of the
mandible and then it passes into the infratemporal fossa and ultimately, into the pterygopalatine
fossa. So the superficial temporal artery, you can
see is pinned here. This artery also runs posterior to the neck of the mandible and
then it runs anterior to the ear and then it runs up into the scalp where it separates
into its posterior and anterior divisions. So that was just a very quick run through
of the branches of the external carotid artery. I just wanted to give you a way to remember
those branches and to show you what order they came off the external carotid artery.

88 thoughts on “External Carotid Branches – 3D Anatomy Tutorial”

  1. Thank You Sir, I recommend all your videos to people in my class! Amazing, way better detail than any of my Anatomy professors!

  2. ty for ur time .it was an AMAZING method to remember the arteries . i was looking for a method to remember them since i cant link any thing .so THANK U god bless u

  3. This was great! Thanks so very much! In my book it doesn't even show the the Ascending pharyngeal artery and it was making me crazier than normal. Thanks again. saving this one for sure 

  4. you can use book "o.f p.s.a.l.m.s" as an acronym – occipital, facial, posterior auricular, superior thyroid, ascending pharyngeal, lingual, maxillary, superficial temporal ..hope that helps too 🙂

  5. Thank you so much!
    Do you think you could do a more in depth tutorial on cranial nerves? That would be fantastic.

    Thanks again, keep up the great work

  6. This is absolutely amazing.. Could never really get my head around this topic, but this has really, really helped.. I actually understand it for once!! Thankyou SO much! 😀

  7. If a person has a facial cheek piercing that has went through one of these arteries. But they wear the piece of metal in the face for 6 months. Can they take it out or will they die?

  8. Clear and precise presentation with excellent diction using perhaps the most comprehensive 3D renderings of the human anatomy. Thank you, Sir.

  9. what is the name of the artery superficial to the Maxillary a. ? I can see it anatosmosing with the facial artery. Is this not a branch off of the external carotid?

  10. I've been having a strange feeling below my ear, on the front side of the ear on the right side, I just had a thallium test, would they find out any blockades there with that test,? Tia very much.

  11. This mnemonic can also be used for external carotid branches. "Some Anatomists Like Freaking Out Poor Medical Students"

  12. Use Mnemonics as
    Someone- Sup Thyroid
    Let – Lingual
    Fan -Facial
    On -Occipital
    ———-
    Pls – Post Auricular
    Attend – Anterior….
    My – Maxillary
    Shadi – Sup Temporal

  13. STOP A MLF At P- Superior Thyroid, Superficial Temporal, Occipital, Posterior Auricular, Maxillary, Lingual, Facial & Ascending Pharyngeal

  14. Which of the two arterial carotids (the left one or the right one) form the internal and external arterial carotids?

  15. She Always Like Friends Over Papa Sister and Mama
    S-superior thyroid artery
    A-ascending pharyngeal artery
    L-lingual artey
    F-facial artery
    O-occipital artery
    P-posterior auricular artery
    S-superficial temporal artery
    M-maxillary

  16. more respect to you sir 😊 my med school can't teach as quarter as good as you can.
    Funny enough my teacher can't even tell a border from a vertex and lateral to medial. But she's here to teach us gross anatomy. And the people here blame anatomy for beinge a 'tough' subject. Where in reality it's really not and THIS is the correct way to teach anatomy not memorize words from a text book.
    Anatomy is beautiful to me, thanks to you sir. 👏

  17. Like the video but u should hv mentioned from where common carotid artery originated n dn proceed step by step

  18. Thanks the video was very nice but.

    I have a problem with pnemonics it would be better if we tried to visualise the arteries and did dissections and looked at the importance of each artery.

    We can palpate facial artery
    Superior temporal artery

    Superior thyroid artery is something you will remember once you look at a few surgeries of thyroid

    Try to use your imagination try to palpate see different arteries use your different senses, try to feel the emotions of someone going through a thyroid surgery use your time watch documentaries meet patients do dissection make a game out of this.

  19. Great diagrammatic illustration. A Sweet Little Face Of Princess Santa Maria is also a mnemonic that can be used.

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