Maxillary Artery: Anatomy & Branches &

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
The maxillary artery is one of two terminal branches of the external carotid artery in the neck that supplies blood to 17 facial and cranial regions of the human body. Learn about the definition, anatomy, & branches of the maxillary artery. Updated: 10/15/2021

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.

Maxillary Artery
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!

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  • 0:00 Definition of Maxillary Artery
  • 1:21 Branches of the…
  • 1:39 Portion 1
  • 3:01 Portion 2
  • 4:14 Portion 3
  • 5:31 Lesson Summary
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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).

Portions of the Maxillary Artery
Portions of the Maxillary Artery

Portion 1

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.

Portion 2

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.

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