Blood is supplied to parts within the neck, head and brain through branches of the subclavian and common carotid arteries. The common cartoid artery extends from the brachiocephalic artery. It extends on each side of the neck and divides at the level of the larynx into two branches:
• The internal carotid artery passes through the temporal bone of the skull to supply oxygenated blood to the brain, eyes, forehead and part of the nose.
• The external carotid artery is divided into branches (facial, temporal and occipital arteries) which supply the skin and muscles of the face, side and back of the head respectively. This vessel also supplies more superficial parts and structures of the head and neck. These include the salivary glands, scalp, teeth, nose, throat, tongue and thyroid gland.
The vertebral arteries is a main division of the subclavian artery. They arise from the subclavian arteries in the base of the neck near the tip of the lungs and pass upwards through the openings (foramina) of transverse
External carotid artery
Common carotid artery
External carotid artery
Fig 5.14 Blood flow to the head and neck processes of the cervical vertebrae where they unite to form a single basilar artery. The basilar artery then terminates by dividing into two posterior cerebral arteries that supply the occipital and temporal lobes of the cerebrum.
The majority of blood draining from the head is passed into three pairs of veins:
• external jugular veins
• internal jugular veins
• vertebral veins.
Within the brain all veins lead to the internal jugular veins.
The external jugular veins are smaller than the internal jugular veins and lie superficial to them. They receive blood from superficial regions of the face, scalp and neck. The external jugular veins descend on either side of the neck, passing over the sternomastoid muscles and beneath the platysma. They empty into the right and left subclavian veins in the base of the neck.
The internal jugular veins form the major venous drainage of the head and neck and are deep veins that parallel the common carotid artery. They collect deoxygenated blood from the brain, and pass downwards through the neck besides the common carotid arteries to join the subclavian veins.
The vertebral veins descend from the transverse openings (or foramina) of the cervical vertebrae and enter the subclavian veins. The vertebral veins drain deep structures of the neck such as the vertebrae and muscles.
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