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Facial Artery
Cardiovascular System

Facial Artery

Arteria facialis

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Quick Facts

Origin: External carotid artery.

Course: Passes on the posterior aspect of the submandibular gland, curves around the inferior aspect of the mandible to enter the face, and ascends to the angle of the mouth and along the lateral aspect of the nose.

Branches: Ascending palatine, submental, inferior and superior labial, and angular arteries; tonsillar, glandular, and lateral nasal septal branches.

Supplied Structures: Face, palate, tonsils, and submandibular gland.

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Origin

The facial artery arises from the external carotid artery in the carotid triangle of the neck. It emerges just above the lingual artery and the greater cornu of the hyoid bone. Sometimes, the facial artery arises from the external carotid artery through a common trunk with the lingual artery (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).

Course

When the facial artery arises from the external carotid artery, it is covered only by the platysma, fascia, and skin. It passes anterosuperiorly, deep to the digastric and stylohyoid muscles. It arches upwards within a groove on the posterior aspect of the submandibular gland, then turns downwards towards the inferior border of the mandible, while sitting in a lateral groove of the submandibular gland.

The facial artery curves around the inferior border of the mandible to enter the face, anterior to the masseter muscle and deep to skin and fat. It ascends to the angle of the mouth, passing deep to the zygomaticus major and risorius muscles and superficial to buccinator and levator anguli oris muscles. It continues to ascend along the lateral side of the nose and ending at the medial angle of the orbit.

Throughout its course, the facial artery is tortuous, most likely to adapt to movements of the pharynx, mandible, lips, and cheeks.

Branches

The facial artery gives rise to several branches supplying structures in the face and neck.

In the neck, the facial artery gives rise to the ascending palatine and submental arteries, and the tonsillar and glandular branches. In the face, the facial artery gives rise to the inferior and superior labial arteries, and the lateral nasal septal branches. Distal to these tributaries, the facial artery continues as the angular artery.

Supplied Structures

The facial artery supplies the glandular tissue including the submandibular gland and palatine tonsils. It supplies muscles of facial expression, muscles found below the chin, and the soft palate. Additionally, it supplies overlying fascia and skin.

References

Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. & Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

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Facial Artery

ScienceDirect image

The facial artery arises as a proximal branch of the ECA (either directly or as a common trunk with the lingual artery), ascends superficial to the mandible, then courses medially in the superficial soft tissues of the face, giving off branches to the lips, mandible, cheeks, and nasal cavity.

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Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy