Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Elsevier
Publish with us
Maxillary Artery
Cardiovascular System

Maxillary Artery

Arteria maxillaris

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: External carotid artery.

Course: Passes between the neck of the mandible and sphenomandibular ligament, through the infratemporal fossa. Passes the inferior head of the lateral pterygoid muscle and enters the pterygopalatine fossa.

Branches: middle meningeal, inferior alveolar, deep auricular, anterior tympanic, deep temporal, masseteric, buccal, pterygoid, posterior superior alveolar, infraorbital, pharyngeal, descending palatine, and sphenopalatine arteries and the artery of the pterygoid canal.

Supplied Structures: Upper and lower jaws and teeth, muscles of mastication, ears, nose, meninges, and palate.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free

Origin

The maxillary artery is one of the two terminal branches of the external carotid artery. The transverse facial artery forms the other terminal branch and is much smaller than the maxillary artery. Both arteries are initially embedded in the parotid gland behind the neck of the mandible.

Course

From the parotid gland, the maxillary artery passes anteriorly between the neck of the mandible and the sphenomandibular ligament to traverse the infratemporal fossa. It may pass either medial or lateral to the lower head of the lateral pterygoid muscle to enter the pterygopalatine fossa via the pterygomaxillary fissure. If the maxillary artery passes medial to the lateral pterygoid muscle, it must loop laterally between the upper and lower heads of the lateral pterygoid muscle to access the pterygomaxillary artery (Standring, 2016)

Branches

The maxillary artery may be divided into three parts according to its location. The first part, or bony portion, of the maxillary artery is located between the neck of the mandible and sphenomandibular ligament. This portion gives rise to two major branches, the middle meningeal and inferior alveolar arteries, as well as the smaller deep auricular, anterior tympanic, and accessory meningeal (when it arises from the maxillary artery) arteries. All of these branches enter bone.

The second part, or the muscular portion, of the maxillary artery is the part associated with the lateral pterygoid muscle. This portion gives rise to the deep temporal, masseteric, buccal, and pterygoid arteries. These branches supply muscles.

The third part, or pterygopalatine portion, of the maxillary artery lies within the pterygopalatine fossa. This portion gives rise to terminal branches of the maxillary artery and is named similarly to the branches of the maxillary nerve. They include the posterior superior alveolar, infraorbital, pharyngeal, descending palatine, and sphenopalatine arteries and the artery of the pterygoid canal.

Supplied Structures

The maxillary artery is widely distributed, thus supplies many structures, including the upper and lower jaw and teeth, muscles of mastication, ears, nose, meninges, and palate.

References

Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41 edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Maxillary Artery

ScienceDirect image

The internal maxillary artery is the other terminal branch of the external carotid that supplies the deep structures of the face.

Explore on ScienceDirect(opens in new tab/window)

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy