Carotid artery


The carotid artery is one of the different arteries that is responsible for supplying blood to the head and neck . Of the two common carotid arteries, which run to the head on either side of the neck, the left originates from the arch of the aorta above the heart ; and the right arises from the brachiocephalic trunk , the largest branch of the arch of the aorta. Each common carotid artery is divided into a carotid artery internal and a carotid artery external .


What is the carotid artery?

It is one of the arteries of the human body whose function is the blood supply to the head and neck and which originates in the common carotid artery , when it bifurcates into the external and internal carotid artery.

  • Function
  • Location
  • Left common carotid artery
  • Right common carotid artery
  • Internal carotid artery
  • External carotid artery
  • Carotid artery obstruction


The external carotid arteries have the function of supplying oxygenated blood to the head region. There is an external carotid artery on the right side of the neck and another on the left side of the neck. The common carotid artery lies bilaterally, with one artery on each side of the front of the neck. Each common carotid artery divides into an external and internal carotid artery. These arteries are responsible for carrying blood to the structures inside and outside the skull. The external function is to carry blood to the external structures located in the skull, mainly the face, and the internal one to the internal structures of the skull, including the brain.



The external carotid artery is born in the bifurcation that exists between the neck , in the common carotid artery. It arises from the common carotid bifurcation , just at the upper edge of the thyroid cartilage , at the level of the fourth cervical vertebra . Carotid artery inner born in the angle of the jaw , from the right common carotid artery and the left , which is bifurcated to shaping these arteries. Ascends in front of the three cervical vertebraesuperiors and does not branch into the neck .

Left common carotid artery

This artery is a large vessel that comes from the aorta and is responsible for supplying the neck and head . It is divided into two:  right and left common carotid artery . The right common carotid artery comes from the brachiocephalic trunk arteriosus , and rises to the upper border of the thyroid cartilage , where it divides into the external carotid and the internal carotid . The left common carotid artery, comes from the arch of the aorta , rises and ends in the same place, the thyroid cartilage , in which it divides into the external carotidand internal .

Right common carotid artery

This artery arises at the bifurcation of the brachiocephalic trunk , next to the right subclavian artery . It is then directed vertically until it reaches the cervical region . Its origin is more in the internal part of the supraclavicular region .

Internal carotid artery

The internal function is the blood supply to the neck , the hemispheres of the brain , the eyeball and the structures that are attached, including the front and the root of the nose . Begins at the bifurcation of the common carotid , on the thyroid cartilage, and then enter the carotid canal and divided into cerebral artery end above and artery middle cerebral . It is divided into four parts:

  • Cervical : The cervical portion does not have any type of branching and begins in the common carotid.
  • Petrosa : It begins in front of the cochlea and the eardrum . It is surrounded by the venous plexus and external carotid plexus. It has two branches: the caroticotympanic , which enters the eardrum; and the pterygoid , which is inconstant and anastomoses with the branch of the internal maxilla.
  • Cavernous : It is located in the cavernous sinus , supplies the common ocular motor , trochlear and ophthalmic nerves . It is divided into cavernous branches , which are small vessels that supply the trigeminal; pituitary branches , which are small and found in large numbers; and the meningeal branch , which is small in size and supplies the dura and the bones located in the anterior cerebral fossa.
  • Cerebral : It passes between the optic nerve and the common ocular motor nerve . It is divided into the anterior brain and the middle brain . It has several branches, including: ophthalmic artery, anterior cerebral, posterior communicating, anterior choroid.

External carotid artery

It originates from the bifurcation of the primitive carotid artery , on the internal side of the carotid . It then ascends vertically, standing outside the primitive carotid, and ascends through the neck. It crosses the stylian diaphragm and the styloid ligament, then penetrating the parotid gland . It ends in the thickness of the parotid gland. It presents the following collateral ramifications that are:

  • Superior thyroid : originates from the bifurcation of the primitive carotid and goes up the head through the diaphragm.
  • Lingual : originates from the external carotid above the lower thyroid. It is related to the pharynx and the floor of the mouth.
  • Facial : it arises from the carotid and ascends vertically to the submaxillary compartment. It passes inside the pharynx.
  • Ascending pharyngeal : it arises externally at the level of the tongue and ascends vertically over the pharynx.
  • Occipital : it originates from the outside at the level of the face. It is related to the internal jugular, internal carotid, and pharynx.
  • Atrial : born in the external carotid and reaches the mastoid process. It is divided into parotid branches and mastoid style artery.
  • Parotid branches : born on the outside and vary in number.

In addition, it has two terminal branches: the superficial temporal arteries and the external maxilla .

Carotid artery obstruction

Obstruction occurs when one or both of the carotid arteries become narrow or clogged due to accumulating fatty deposits , a condition known as atheromas . When this obstruction is constant and is not treated, it can lead to cerebrovascular accidents , by a blood clot or by the detachment of pieces of the plates. This risk increases with age and occurs more commonly in men than in women. It is considered the third leading cause of death worldwide. High levels of cholesterol and triglycerides , high blood pressure ,diabetes , obesity , sedentary lifestyle and family history are the main risk factors.

Leave a Comment