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Deep Neck Dissection Showing Branches of the External Carotid Artery

Surgical Correlation

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Deep neck dissection showing branches of the external carotid artery. At the bottom of the image the common carotid artery can be seen bifurcating into the internal and external carotid arteries. The internal carotid artery ascends in the deep neck toward the base of the skull.  It gives off no branches in the neck.  The internal carotid artery enters the skull via the carotid canal, which is located anterior to the styloid process. The Internal jugular vein accompanies the internal carotid artery within the carotid sheath.  Here it can be seen exiting the base of the skull via the jugular foramen. The glossopharyngeal nerve (CN IX) also exits the skull via the jugular foramen. The external carotid artery gives off several branches that supply structures in the neck, face, and scalp, including the superior thyroid artery, facial artery (cut in this image), occipital artery, and ascending pharyngeal artery. The external carotid artery has been cut in this image, but normally extends into the parotid region of the face where it bifurcates into its terminal branches – the maxillary and superficial temporal arteries. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)

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