Superficial temporal artery
The superficial temporal artery is one of the largest blood vessels in the neck. Branching off the external carotid, it assists in delivering oxygenated blood from the heart to regions in the neck and head. The other branch of the external carotid includes the maxillary artery. Towards the end of its course, the superficial temporal artery splits into frontal and parietal branches. This artery begins around the mandible and the parotid gland, where saliva is produced for use in the mouth. During its course, the artery travels over the zygomatic process. There, the Auricularis muscle covers it. Two branches of the facial nerve also cross the artery at the zygomatic process. Since it is a major artery within the neck and head, damage or blockage to this artery could pose serious health problems. However, reports of aneurysms tend to be uncommon and rare. The superficial temporal artery, along with the occipital artery, has been associated with chronic migraine headaches.
Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
In Depth: Superficial temporal artery