Middle meningeal artery

Medically reviewed by Healthline Medical Team on January 21, 2015

The middle meningeal artery is an artery located in the human head.

This artery passes through an opening in the bones at the base of the skull called the foramen spinosum. This is a small opening, but it is vital to protect the artery, and also enables the artery to access the necessary areas of the brain.

The middle meningeal artery branches off after passing through the foramen spinosum; one such branch is the petrosal branch, which supplies the facial nerve.

The middle meningeal artery runs through the foramen spinosum, underneath the temporal bone at the side of the head, and above the dura mater, a layer of protective brain tissue. Therefore, damage to the artery may cause bleeding between the protective layers around the brain; likewise, damage to the foramen spinosum or the temporal bone can damage the artery.

Rupture of the middle meningeal artery can cause epidural hematoma, an accumulation of blood between the dura mater and the skull. This is a type of bleeding on the brain has a distinctive period in which the patient is aware and lucid. This lucid period is usually followed by dangerous seizures and possibly a coma, or even death.

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