Ascending Pharyngeal Artery

Written by Nicholas Fernandes

Last updated June 20, 2024 • 5 Revisions

The ascending pharyngeal artery is an artery of the head and neck region. It is the second main branch of the external carotid artery.

It contributes to the blood supply of structures in the pharynx, middle ear and cranium.

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The ascending pharyngeal artery arises from the medial aspect of the external carotid artery – immediately distal to the carotid bifurcation.

It ascends between the internal carotid artery and pharynx. It crosses underneath the styloglossus and stylopharyngeus muscles and over the anterior surface of the longus capitis.

At the base of the skull, the ascending pharyngeal artery terminates by anastomosing with the ascending palatine branch of the facial artery and the ascending cervical branch of the vertebral artery.




The ascending pharyngeal artery supplies structures in the head and neck via three named branches:

  • Pharyngeal branch – supplies structures of the pharynx; pharyngeal constrictor muscles, stylopharyngeus muscle, soft palate, palatine tonsils and the auditory tube.
  • Inferior tympanic artery – supplies the medial wall of the middle ear.
  • Meningeal branch – enters the cranium to contribute to the blood supply of the dura mater and several cranial nerves.

Fig 2
The pharyngeal constrictor muscles and stylopharyngeus are supplied by the ascending pharyngeal artery