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Anatomy Atlases: Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax: Maxillary Artery

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation: Opus II: Cardiovascular System: Arteries: Head, Neck, and Thorax

Maxillary Artery

Ronald A. Bergman, PhD
Adel K. Afifi, MD, MS
Ryosuke Miyauchi, MD

Peer Review Status: Internally Peer Reviewed

The origin of this artery is usually constant, but very rarely it is a branch of the facial artery. It has been seen, after leaving the temporal artery below the angle of the jaw, to pierce the medial pterygoid muscle in its upward course into the zygomatic fossa.

Quain reported a case where the maxillary artery provided two vessels that entered the cranial cavity (one branch through the foramen rotundum and the second through the foramen ovale) to compensate for the absence of the internal carotid. The maxillary artery itself may also be doubled.

Of surgical importance is the relationship of the maxillary artery to the lateral pterygoid muscle. The maxillary artery was found medial to the lateral pterygoid muscle in 30.5% of 180 dissections and lateral to the lateral pterygoid in 69.5%. In another study, the maxillary artery was deep (medial) to the lateral pterygoid in 46% of 447 specimens and superficial (lateral) to the lateral ptergoid in 54%.

In several instances the maxillary pierced the lower head of the lateral pterygoid

The anterior deep temporal branch of the maxillary sometimes exists as a temporobuccal trunk, which divides into the anterior deep temporal (behind the nerve of the same name) and buccal arteries.

The anterior deep temporal may substitute for the lacrimal artery.

The middle deep temporal branch of the maxillary may exist (16% of cases) as a temporomasseteric trunk, which gives rise to the middle deep temporal and a branch to the masseter muscle.

The number of branches arising from the maxillary artery is frequently reduced due to two or more taking origin by a common trunk. The middle meningeal artery occasionally furnishes the lacrimal, or even the ophthalmic artery, which may itself provide the middle meningeal. These peculiarities may be explained as resulting from enlargement of the usual anastomosing branch. The anterior deep temporal artery may reinforce or replace the lacrimal artery by a similar enlargement of an anastomosing branch. The buccal, posterior dental, or infraorbital artery may be larger than usual, supplying a deficiency of the facial artery.

External Maxillary:

Image 145, Image 423


Adachi, B. (1928) Das Arteriensystem der Japaner. Kenkyusha Press, Kyoto.

Anson, B.J., Ed. (1966) Morris' Human Anatomy, 12th ed. The Blakiston Division, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York.

Bergman, R.A., Thompson, S.A., Afifi, A.K. and F.A. Saadeh. (1988) Compendium of Human Anatomic Variation: Catalog, Atlas and World Literature. Urban & Schwarzenberg, Baltimore and Munich.

Bhat, K., Madhyastha, S., Balakrishnan, R. Course of the Maxillary Artery Through the Loop of the Auriculotemporal Nerve. Rev. Arg. de Anat. Clin.; 2013, 5(3): 235-239.

Bien, G. (1907) Eine seltene Varietät der Arteria maxillaris interna. Anat. Anz. 30:421-426.

Grönroos, H. (1902) Eine seltene Anorddung der Arteria maxillaris externa bei einem Erwachsenen. Anat. Anz. 20:9-16.

Joessel, -. (1878) Neue Anomalien der carotis externa und der maxillaris interna. Arch. Anat. Physiol. Wissen. Med. 1878:433-437.

Kalantroff, -. (1887) (Anomaly of Internal maxillary artery.) In Russian. Russkaia Meditsina, St Petersbourg 12:225-227.

Lasker, G.W., Opdyke, D.L. and H. Miller (1951) The position of the internal maxillary artery and its questionable relation to the cephalic index. Anat. Rec. 109:119-126.

Latarjet, A. (1948) Testut's Traite d'Anatomie Humaine, 9th ed. G. Doin & Cie., Paris.

Lauber, H. (1901) über einige Varietäten im Verlaufe der Arteria maxillaris interna. Anat. Anz. 19:444-448.

Long, J.J. (1890) The relation of the internal maxillary artery to the external pterygoid muscle. Collective investigation in the anatomical department of Trinity college, Dublin. Transactions - Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 8:520-521.

Lurje, A.S. (1947) On the topographical anatomy of the internal maxillary artery. Acta Anat. 2:219-231.

Monjardino, A. (1906) Anomalia da arteria maxillar interna. Jornal da Sociedade das Sciencias Medicas de Lisboa 70 (anno 71):181-182.

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Polonskaja, R. (1935) Zur Fraga der Morphologie der Art. maxillaris externa bei Vertretern der weissen und der gelben Rasse. Anat. Anz. 80:331-339.

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Skopakoff, C. (1968) über die Variabiltat im Verlauf der A. maxillaris. Anat. Anz. 123:534-546.

von Textor, Jun., -. (1857) Ungewöhnlicher Ursprung der inneren Kieferschlagader. Verhandlungen der Physikalisch-Medicinische Gesellschaft in Wurtzburg 7:230-233.

Tokarski, S. (1931) Les variations de l'artere maxillare interne chez l'homme expliquées par les variations chez les primates. Assoc. Anatomistes Comptes Rendus 26:507-510.

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