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Lateral Perspective of the Left Infratemporal Fossa and Mandibular Region

Surgical Correlation


Lateral perspective of the left infratemporal fossa and mandibular region. The external carotid artery runs anterior to the internal jugular vein (the internal carotid artery is medial to the vein and obscured from view in this image) and gives rise to several branches in the neck. The facial artery courses deep to the posterior digastric and stylohyoid muscles (and submandibular salivary gland, which has been removed) before emerging onto the face by crossing the inferior border of the mandible. The temporalis muscle has been sectioned and the zygomatic arch removed to reveal the infratemporal fossa. The maxillary artery, a terminal division of the external carotid artery, passes behind the neck of the mandible to enter the infratemporal fossa. It gives rise to several branches, including deep temporal arteries just lateral to the lateral pterygoid muscle.  The superficial temporal artery, the other terminal division of the external carotid, courses over the root of the zygomatic process and divides into frontal and parietal branches over the temporalis fascia. After emerging from the stylomastoid foramen, the facial nerve enters the parotid space deep to the posterior digastric muscle before crossing superficial to the external carotid artery within the substance of the parotid gland (removed). Also, this nerve provides motor branches to the stylohyoid, posterior digastric, and occipitalis muscles. (Image courtesy of AL Rhoton, Jr.)