Blood vessels of the head and neck

The external carotid artery

The external carotid artery flows upward on the side of the head to branch into various structures in the neck, face, jaw, scalp, and base of the skull. The main vessels that originate from this artery are: (1) the superior thyroid artery, to the hyoid bone, larynx, and thyroid gland; (2) the lingual artery, to the tongue, muscles of the tongue, and salivary glands below the tongue; (3) the facial artery, to the pharynx (throat), palate, chin, lips, and nose; (4) the occipital artery, to the scalp on the back of the skull and various muscles in the neck; and (5) the posterior auricular artery, to the ear and scalp over the ear. The external carotid artery terminates by division into the maxillary and superficial temporal arteries. ...

The cardiovascular system of the head and neck

The cardiovascular system of the head and neck includes the vital arteries that provide oxygenated blood to the brain and organs of the head, including the mouth and eyes. It also includes the veins that return deoxygenated blood from these organs to the heart. Among these blood vessels are several unique and important structures that have evolved to help maintain the continuous flow of blood to the brain. The human brain is so powerful and metabolically active that it uses about 20% of all of the oxygen and glucose taken in by the body each day. Any interruption in the blood flow to the brain very quickly results in the decline of mental function, loss of consciousness, and eventually death if not corrected.