Branches, Supply and Clinical Relevance
Being dental professionals, it is important to know the important arteries supplying the face in order to safely operate in oral and maxillofacial region. Main arterial supply of face is by facial artery and superficial temporal arteries. Additional supply is majorly by maxillary and ophthalmic arteries.
Quick Notes on Facial Artery
- It arises in neck from the external carotid artery
- Lies beneath platysma, passing on to the face at anteroinferior border of masseter, where its pulse can be felt as it crosses the mandible.
- From this point the facial artery runs upward and medially in a tortuous course.
The facial part of the artery gives off following branches described below:
- It passes along the side of the nose and terminates as the angular artery at the medial corner of the eye.
- Along its path the facial artery is deep to the platysma, risorius, and zygomaticus major and minor, superficial to the buccinator and levator anguli oris, and may pass superficially to or through the levator labii superioris.
- Branches of the facial artery include the superior and inferior labial branches and the lateral nasal branch.
- The labial branches arise near the corner of the mouth: the inferior labial branch supplies the lower lip; the superior labial branch supplies the upper lip, and also provides a branch to the nasal septum.
- Near the midline, the superior and inferior labial branches anastomose with their companion arteries from the opposite side of the face.
- This provides an important connection between the facial arteries and the external carotid arteries of opposite sides.
- The lateral nasal branch is a small branch arising from the facial artery as it passes along the side of the nose. It supplies the lateral surface and dorsum of the nose
- Branches from the cervical part (branches in the neck) – Ascending palatine artery, Tonsillar artery, Glandular branches, Submental artery
Clinical Relevance of Facial Artery
- It can be injured during operative procedures on lower premolars and molars or while attempting to open a buccal abscess. While performing any procedures near border of mandible, incision must be given half inch below the lower border of mandible.
- It can be located using masseter as landmark and can be ligated to avoid complications. Also called as anesthetists artery.
- Due to its superficial course, the pulse of the artery is palpable at the anteroinferior angle of the masseter muscle against the bony surface of the mandible.
- An embolus from the common carotid may travel and cause ischemic injury to a distal branch of the facial artery.
Take Home Message
Understanding the course and relations of facial artery is vital to avoid any iatrogenic damage to the artery. Sound knowledge of anatomy is the key for success of any surgeon.
Article by Dr. Siri P. B.