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15. Common carotid arteriogram (external carotid branches labelled), lateral projection
The external carotid artery (ECA), one of the terminal branches of the common carotid, arises at the level of the upper border of the thyroid cartilage. It gives off the following branches:
The superior thyroid artery arises from the front of the ECA near its origin. The ascending pharyngeal artery (not visualized on this image) arises from the deep surface of the ECA. The lingual artery arises from the anterior surface of the ECA near the tip of the greater cornu of the hyoid bone. Just distal to this is the origin of the facial artery, also from the anterior surface of the ECA. The occipital artery arises from the posterior surface of the ECA opposite the facial artery. The posterior auricular artery arises from the posterior surface of the ECA at the level of the upper border of the posterior belly of the digastric muscle. The two terminal branches of the ECA are the superficial temporal artery and the maxillary artery. The former is the smaller terminal branch; it ascends in front of the ear. The latter is the larger terminal branch of the ECA. It arises behind the neck of the mandible and courses anteriorly through the parotid gland to reach the infratemporal and pterygopalatine fossas. One of its branches, the middle meningeal artery, is well seen in this study; it enters the skull via the foramen spinosum.