Superficial temporal artery is one of the main arteries of the scalp. It supplies anterior and posterior quadrants of the scalp posterior part of the face, auricle, parotid gland etc.
This artery commences as the smaller terminal branch of the external carotid artery. It is formed behind the neck of the mandible. It is formed within the parotid gland.

Course

It passes upwards and emerges from the superior surface of the parotid gland. It then crosses the root of the zygomatic arch. The artery then reaches the temporal region.

Termination

In the temporal part of the scalp, it divides into:

  • Anterior branch (frontal branch)
  • Posterior branch (parietal branch)

These branches freely anastomose with the internal carotid system in the scalp. The terminal part of the artery is accompanied by:

  • Superficial temporal vein
  • Auriculo-temporal nerve.

Branches

  • Transverse facial artery
  • Anterior auricular artery
  • Zygomatico-auricular artery
  • Middle temporal artery
  • Anterior (frontal) branch
  • Posterior (parietal) branch.
  • The superficial temporal artery also supplies:
  • Parotid gland Masseter muscle
  • Temporomandibular joint

Applied Anatomy

  • During fractures of the zygomatic arch, the superficial temporal artery may be injured
  • The pulsation of the artery can be felt on the zygomatic arch.
  • The artery becomes thickened and tortuous in elderly persons.