Definition of Maxillary Artery
'DArn Man, I AM Deeply Pained, But Pretty Soon I'll Possess An MD And Party!'
Ok, I'm sure you are totally wondering where the above you're looking at came from. No, it wasn't a pasting error, although I could see why you might think that. It's actually a mnemonic device, which is a sentence constructed to remember something difficult, like all the many branches of the maxillary artery!
Each capitalized letter refers to a different artery and each artery name begins with its associated capitalized letter. You also might notice that 'AndParty' isn't spaced. That's not a grammatical error either but rather because both A and P refer to the same artery. Alright, we'll come back to all of this in a moment but, first, lets review some basics about the maxillary artery.
The maxillary artery, also known as the internal maxillary artery, is one of two terminal (end) branches of the external carotid artery in our neck. The maxillary artery gets its name from the fact that it stems off and then runs inside the mandible bone (lower jaw) and then up onto the maxilla (upper jaw), hence 'maxillary' artery. It's an artery that has a lot of little vessels that branch off of it, 17 to be exact', so this is where that handy little mnemonic comes in!
Branches of the Maxillary Artery
Ok, so now that the bizarre opening to this lesson finally makes some sense, lets see how we can use it to remember all 17 branches.
The maxillary artery is, for ease of identification, broken into three sections that are named portions 1, 2, and 3 (I know, you're impressed with the creativity of their names).
The first portion of the maxillary artery has 5 branches thus, the first 5 capitalized letters of our mnemonic apply here: DArn Man, I A.
- D: deep auricular artery: This branch runs deep in the ear, which is actually where the name comes from. Auricular means 'relating to hearing' so it shouldn't be surprising to learn that this vessel supplies blood to the inner ear canal and the outer surface of the tympanic membrane (the ear drum).
- A: anterior tympanic artery: This branch supplies blood to the interior surface of the tympanic membrane as well as some of the tissues of the inner ear.
- M: middle meningeal artery: This branch supplies the dura mater of the brain, which is the outermost of the three 'meninges', or protective layers of tissue, that encase the brain.
- I: inferior alveolar artery: Is a branch which feeds areas of the mouth and chin and is sometimes called the inferior dental artery. It gets its name from the fact that it runs along a nerve, called the inferior alveolar nerve, which is the nerve that you most frequently will receive Novocain in when getting dental surgery.
- A: accessory meningeal artery: Is a branch that assists (in other words, 'accessory to') the middle meningeal artery in supplying the dura mater of the brain.
The second portion has 6 vessels stemming off of it; therefore, the next 6 capitalized letters of our mnemonic apply here: M Deeply Pained, But Pretty Soon.
- M: masseteric artery: This artery supplies the masseter muscle of your jaw that helps you 'masticate', or chew food.
- D: deep Temporal (posterior/anterior) artery: This branch supplies the chewing muscles located in the temporal region of the skull.
- P: pterygoid artery: Supply the pterygoid muscles, which connect the mandible (lower jaw) to the skull and are used when chewing.
- B: buccinator artery: This branch supplies the buccinator muscles of your cheeks.
- P: posterior superior alveolar artery: Also known as the posterior dental artery, supplies blood to your molars and premolars of your maxilla as well as your maxillary sinus.
- S: sphenopalatine artery: This artery is named after a hole in the skull, the sphenopalatine foramen, that it passes through and is responsible for bringing blood into your nasal passageway.
The third and final portion also has 6 branches, and so the final 6 capitalized letters of our mnemonic apply here: I'll Possess An MD AndParty!
- I: infraorbital artery: This artery passes through an opening 'infra' (below) 'orbital' the eye and supplies certain eye muscles.
- P: pharyngeal artery: Supplies blood to the pharynx spaces that join your nose, mouth, and throat.
- A: anterior superior alveolar artery: It is a branch of the infraorbital and supplies blood to your canines and incisors of your maxilla as well as your maxillary sinus.
- M: middle superior alveolar artery: Is a branch of the infraorbital that also supplies dental blood flow.
- D: descending palatine artery: Is a branch supplying blood to the 'palatine' area of the mouth, also known as the pallet or the roof of the mouth.
- A & P: artery of the pterygoid canal: Is also named for the pterygoid canal (also known as the vidian canal) of the skull. It supplies blood to the upper part of the pharynx and the auditory tube, which runs from the ear to the pharynx and 'pops' to equalize the pressure in your ear when you're flying in a plane.
The maxillary artery, also known as the internal maxillary artery, is one of two terminal (end) branches of the external carotid artery in our neck. It has 17 branches, broken into three sections (portion 1,2, and 3), which supply an array of muscles, structures, and passageways in and around the face and ear. The mnemonic 'DArn Man, I AM Deeply Pained, But Pretty Soon I'll Possess An MD And Party!' can be helpful in remembering all 17 branches and is divided as follows:
D: deep auricular artery(ear canal and outer tympanic membrane), A: anterior tympanic artery (Inner tympanic membrane and inner ear), M: middle meningeal artery (dura mater, 'meninges' of the brain), I: inferior alveolar artery (mouth and chin), and A: accessory meningeal artery (accessory to middle meningeal artery.).
M: masseteric artery (masseter muscle), D: deep Temporal (posterior/anterior) artery (chewing muscles in the temporal region), P: pterygoid artery (pterygoid muscle), B: buccinator artery (buccinator muscle), P: posterior superior alveolar artery (molars and premolars of maxilla), and S: sphenopalatine artery (nasal).
I: infraorbital artery (below the eye), P: pharyngeal artery (sinuses), A: anterior superior alveolar artery (dental), M: middle superior alveolar artery (dental), D: descending palatine artery (palate of the mouth), and A & P: artery of the pterygoid canal(pharynx and auditory tube).
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