Superficial temporal artery

  • The superficial temporal artery (latin: arteria temporalis superficialis) is one of the terminal branches of the external carotid artery. The superficial temporal artery supplies the upper and lateral parts of the scalp.

    The superficial temporal artery separates from the external carotid artery behind the neck of the mandible. It passes upwards near the auricle, over the posterior root of the zygomatic process of the temporal bone. In this point the superficial temporal artery is palpable. Above the zygomatic process the superficial temporal artery divides into two branches, the frontal and parietal branches. The frontal branch of the superficial temporal artery supplies the forehead area and anastomoses with the ophthalmic artery. The parietal branch of the superficial temporal artery supplies the temporal and parietal regions, and it also may form anastomoses with the posterior auricular artery and the occipital artery. The superficial temporal artery gives off the following side branches that supply the external ear, parotid gland, temporal muscle:

    • transverse facial artery,
    • anterior auricular branches,
    • middle temporal artery.

    The superficial temporal artery is frequently involved in a pathology called the giant-cell arteritis (or temporal arteritis) that is a form of a systemic inflammatory vasculitis. The temporal arteritis damages blood vessels resulting in subsequent distal ischemia. Clinical symptoms include headache, visual disturbances, neck pain, scalp tenderness.