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Other Terms: Canalis caroticus, Canal carotidien
This is the curved channel that transmits the internal carotid artery through petrous temporal bone. One end of the channel opens on the inferior surface of the petrous bone as the carotid foramen. This oval opening courses superiorly into the bone for approximately one centimeter before curving anteromedially through the bone. The anteromedially directed canal runs for two centimeters within the petrous bone before it exits at the petrous apex into the foramen lacerum. Here the artery turns superiorly again to enter the cranial vault. Following the artery through this canal is the carotid sympathetic nerve plexus.
Carotid pertains to the internal carotid artery that runs through the groove. The term carotid derives from the Greek karos or karoun meaning a deep sleep or to stupefy. This relates to the important oxygen supply carried by this vessel to the brain. If this supply is interrupted the individual faints or falls into a stupor. Canal is from the Latin canalis meaning a tube or channel.