An Anatomical Study of the Facial Artery

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Niemann, K.; Lazarus, L. & Rennie, C.


The facial artery (a branch of the external carotid artery) is the main artery of the face. It gives rise to seven branches viz. inferior labial, superior labial, inferior alar, superior alar, lateral nasal and angular arteries, which are variable. This study included a dissection of twenty embalmed adult cadaveric head and neck specimens. The parameters of origin, branching patterns, termination and variations were analysed and compared with sex and laterality. The facial artery followed the standard anatomical description of origin in 84.62 % of the sample. Variations: (i) origin as a linguofacial trunk in 12.82 % and (ii) high origin in 2.56 % was observed. Male specimens displayed a higher number of linguofacial trunk origins (7.69 %). The branching patterns of the facial artery was classified into six types, with subtypes for Types 1 and 2. Subtype 1-A (standard anatomical description with early termination) occurred in most of the sample (46.15 %). Males were found to have more variations in branching patterns than females (48.72 % and 41.03 % respectively). Termination of the facial artery was as follows: inferior labial artery (5.13 %), superior labial artery (10.26 %), inferior alar artery (10.26 %), superior alar artery (46.15 %), lateral nasal artery (5.13 %), and angular artery (20.51 %). A single case (2.56 %) of an abortive artery was noted. Statistical analysis showed that sex was independent of each parameter observed in this study. Anatomical knowledge of the facial artery is of importance to clinicians and surgeons during procedures such as musculomucosal, island flaps and aesthetic dermatology.

KEY WORDS: Facial Artery; External Carotid Artery; Musculomucosal flap; Linguofacial trunk; Angular Artery.

How to cite this article

NIEMANN, K.; LAZARUS, L. & RENNIE, C. An anatomical study of the facial artery. Int. J. Morphol., 37(4):1310-1315, 2019.