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Posterior deep temporal artery

The temporalis muscle is a fan-shaped muscle that lifts the mandible (jaw) upward and is used in mastication (chewing). Blood is supplied to the temporalis muscle by two branches of the maxillary artery, the anterior and posterior deep temporal arteries, and a branch of the external carotid, called the superficial temporary artery.

From the maxillary artery, the posterior deep temporal artery travels upward, passing between the external pterygoid muscle, a muscle in the jaw, and the temporal muscle, which is on the side of the head. In the infratemporal fossa (a space that lies behind the cheekbone), the artery separates into numerous branches. The infratemporal fossa, in addition to the deep temporal artery, contains the temporalis muscle, auriculotemporal nerve, the deep temporal nerves, and the superficial artery.

In the fossa, the posterior deep temporal artery moves into the temporal muscle, along with the deep temporal nerve. The artery supplies blood to the squamous portion of the temporal bone (located at the top if the temporal bone) and the pericranium (the outer covering of the skull), as well as the temporal muscle. It joins with the middle and superficial temporal arteries and the anterior deep temporal artery.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
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In Depth: Posterior deep temporal artery

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