Facial Artery

Written by Oliver Jones

Last updated December 17, 2023 • 8 Revisions •

The facial artery is an artery of the head and neck region. It is the fourth main branch of the external carotid artery.

It contributes to the blood supply of structures in the neck and superficial face.

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The facial artery arises from the external carotid artery within the carotid triangle of the neck.

It travels superiorly and obliquely, underneath the digastric and stylohyoid muscles, and closely associated with the posterior surface of the submandibular gland (it can pass through the gland itself in some individuals).

It gives rise to several branches in the neck – ascending palatine, tonsillar, submental, and glandular.

The facial artery then curves upwards, passing over the body of the mandible and along the inferior border of the masseter, deep to the platysma muscle.

It then takes a tortuous course towards the angle of the mouth, supplying superior and inferior labial branches to the lips. It terminates by ascending along the side of the nose in the nasolabial fold, as the angular artery.

Fig 1
Anatomical course of the facial artery.


The facial artery supplies branches to numerous structures in the head and neck:

  • Neck
    • Ascending palatine – supplies the soft palate and palatine tonsils.
    • Tonsillar – supplies the palatine tonsils.
    • Submental – supplies the floor of the mouth and sublingual gland.
    • Glandular – supplies the submandibular gland.
  • Face:
    • Superior and inferior labial artery – supply the upper and lower lips.
    • Lateral nasal artery – supplies the external nose.
    • Angular artery – supplies the external nose, lower eyelid, orbicularis oculi and lacrimal sac.

Fig 2
The facial artery contributes to the blood supply of the submandibular and sublingual glands.