After its origin from the external carotid, the facial artery follows a cervical course, during which it is carried upward medial to the mandible and in fairly close contact with the pharynx. It runs superiorly, deep to the posterior belly of the digastric and stylohyoid muscles, and then crosses above them to descend on the medial surface of the mandible, grooving or passing through the submandibular salivary gland as it rounds the lower border of the mandible. It appears an the external surface of the mandible around the anterior border of the masseter muscle (see Fig. 9-1 and 9-2). Above the inferior border of the mandible, it lies anterior to the facial vein and is tortuous.
Figure 9- 1 Anatomic dissection of the lateral face showing the relationship of the parotid gland, submandibular gland, facial artery (FA) and vein (FV), and marginal mandibular branches of the facial nerve (VII). Two marginal mandibular branches are present are present in this specimen, one below the inferior border of the mandible.
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