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Other Terms: External maxillary artery, Arteria facialis, Artère faciale
The facial artery arises from the external carotid above the lingual artery. It passes upward beneath the posterior belly of the digastric and the stylohyoid muscle and the submaxillary gland. It is embedded in a groove on the under surface of the submaxillary gland. It then curves upward over the body of the lower jaw, reaching the face at the anterior inferior angle of the masseter muscle. It consists of two portions: a cervical and a facial. The branches of the cervical portion of the facial artery are the ascending palatine, tonsillar, glandular, and submental. The facial branches are the inferior labial, superior labial, lateral nasal, angular, and the muscular. The ascending palatine artery occasionally arises separately from the external carotid artery. It ascends between the internal and external carotid arteries. It then runs between the styloglossus and the stylopharyngeus muscle. Then it runs between the internal pterygoid muscle and the superior constrictor muscle of the pharynx. Reaching the levator palati muscle, it divides into two branches: the palatine and the tonsillar. The palatine follows the course of the levator palati muscle to supply the soft palate and anastomoses with the ascending palatine artery of the opposite side. The tonsillar branch perforates the superior constrictor muscle of the pharynx and supplies the tonsil and the auditory tubes. It anastomoses with the tonsillar branches of the ascending pharyngeal and facial arteries. The tonsillar artery is smaller than the ascending palatine artery. It passes upward between the internal pterygoid and the styloglossus muscle. It perforates the superior constrictor muscle of the pharynx opposite the tonsil and supplies branches to the tonsil and root of the tongue. It anastomoses with the tonsillar branch of the ascending palatine and the other tonsillar arteries. There are three or four glandular branches. They supply the submandibular glands and are derived from the portion of the artery in contact with that gland. The submental artery is the largest of the branches given off from the cervical portion of the facial artery. It arises from this vessel, beneath the submandibular gland. It then runs forward upon the mylohyoid muscle, under the lower border of the lower jaw, and beneath the anterior belly of the digastric muscle. Then it runs to the symphysis of the lower jaw, where it divides into a superficial and a deep branch. The superficial branch winds over the lower jaw and runs in the superficial fascia of the chin. It anastomoses with the inferior labial artery. The deep branch runs beneath the depressor labii inferioris muscle. It anastomoses with the inferior labial and mental arches. It branches are muscular, perforating, and cutaneous. Muscular branch supply the adjacent muscle. The perforating branch pierces the mylohyoid muscle to anastomose with the sublingual artery. The cutaneous supplies the overlying skin. The muscular branches of the facial artery supply the posterior belly of the digastric, the stylohyoid, the styloglossus, the mylohyoid, and the internal pterygoid muscle.