External carotid artery

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Course and branches from the external carotid artery

The external carotid artery (ACE) or external carotid artery supplies the head ( skull and soft tissues) and the upper neck organs ( larynx , thyroid , throat ) and the hard meninges .


It arises from the division of the common carotid artery (common carotid artery) at the so-called bifurcation . The other branch, which is usually larger in diameter, is the internal carotid artery (internal carotid artery), which supplies the brain. The external carotid artery is usually in front of (ventrally) the internal carotid artery . In humans, it runs between the stylopharyngeus muscle , the stylohyoid muscle and the posterior part of the digastric muscle and is crossed over by the hypoglossal nerve and under the glossopharyngeus nerve. At the angle of the jaw it divides into its terminal branches, the maxillary artery and the superficial temporal artery .

Main branches of the external carotid artery

Mnemonic: Th eo Ling en fa briziert pha ntastisch st strength Oc hsenschwanzsuppe au s t oten M äusen

Comparative anatomy

In some mammals ( ruminants , pigs ), the section of the internal carotid artery that lies outside the cranial cavity recedes again after birth, so that the external carotid artery also takes over most of the supply of the brain.

Web links

Commons : External carotid artery  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. FCAT - Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology: Terminologia Anatomica. Thieme, Stuttgart et al. 1998, ISBN 3-13-114361-4 .


  • Theodor H. Schiebler (Ed.): Anatomie. Histology, history of development, macroscopic and microscopic anatomy, topography. Taking into account the item catalog. 9th, completely revised edition. Springer, Heidelberg 2005, ISBN 3-540-21966-8 .
  • Uwe Gille: Cardiovascular and immune system, Angiologia. In: Franz-Viktor Salomon, Hans Geyer, Uwe Gille (Ed.): Anatomy for veterinary medicine. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Enke, Stuttgart 2008,
  • Kristin Szalay: Head and Neck, Cranial Nerves (= MEDI-LEARN script series. Anatomy. Vol. 4). 2nd updated edition. Medi-Learn, Marburg / Lahn 2008, ISBN 978-3-938802-42-7 , pp. 404–463.