The facial artery is the main artery of the face. In the face it is found within the muscles of facial expression. The artery is tortuous in its facial course.

It Commences from the external carotid artery within the carotid triangle. It is formed just above the greater horn of the hyoid bone.

Course

It passes upwards and grooves the submandibular gland. It then passes downwards lateral to the submandibular gland and reaches the lower border of the mandible. It pierces the stylomandibular ligament.

It enters the face after crossing the lower border of the mandible. It crosses the buccinator and reaches the angle of the mouth. The facial artery then runs along the lateral side of the nose to reach the medial angle of the orbit.

Termination

It terminates by anastomosing with the dorsal nasal branch of the ophthalmic artery (this is a communication between external carotid and internal carotid systems). The terminal part of the artery is known as the angular artery. The facial part of the facial artery is tortuous.

Branches

Branches in the neck:

  • Ascending palatine artery
  • Tonsillar artery to supply the palatine tonsil.
  • Glandular branches to supply the submandibular gland and submandibular lymph glands.
  • Submental artery.

Branches in the face:

  • Inferior labial artery to supply the lower lip
  • Superior labial artery to supply the upper lip and nose.
  • Lateral nasal artery.
  • Muscular branches to the muscles of facial expression.

Applied Anatomy

During injury of the face bleeding from the facial artery can be stopped by compressing the artery against the lower border of mandible. The pulsation of the artery can be felt along the lower border of the mandible near the anteroinferior angle of masseter muscle.

In the lips branches of the facial artery are found nearer to the mucous membrane than to the skin.

Hence injuries caused by the teeth on the mucous membrane of the mouth may develop hidden haemotomas.

The labial branches of the facial artery of both sides are communicating around the mouth. This communication is the anastomosis between the external carotid arteries of both sides.