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Arborization of the Middle Meningeal Artery within the Cranial Dura

Surgical Correlation


Arborization of the middle meningeal artery within the cranial dura. The middle meningeal artery is a major branch of the maxillary artery. It is the largest of the paired meningeal arteries (the others, the anterior meningeal artery is a branch of the anterior ethmoidal artery; the posterior meningeal artery is a branch of the ascending pharyngeal artery) and supplies both dura and overlying skull bone. The inner face of the skull bones are often marked by grooves formed by its branches. The middle meningeal artery traverses the foramen spinosum and penetrates the dura and then ascends on the inner face of the greater wing of the sphenoid bone. It divides into anterior (frontal) and posterior (parietal) branches or divisions 15 to 30 mm anterolateral to the foramen spinosum. The anterior branch passes under the pterion where it is vulnerable to trauma to this area. Tears in the artery produce epidural hemorrhage. The posterior branch runs horizontally posterior deep to the squamous portion of the temporal bone. Branches of the middle meningeal artery anastomose across the midline with contralateral branches and with ipsilateral anterior and posterior meningeal branches. (Image courtesy of M Nunez)