The superficial temporal vessels emerge from the superior aspect of the parotid gland and accompany the auriculotemporal nerve (Fig. 12-1). The superficial temporal artery arises in the parotid gland by bifurcation of the external carotid artery (the other terminal artery is the internal maxillary). As it crosses superficial to the zygomatic arch, a temporal branch is given off just over the arch. This vessel is a common source of bleeding. The superficial temporal artery divides into the frontal and parietal branches a few centimeters above the arch. The superficial temporal vein lies superficial and usually posterior to the artery. The auriculotemporal nerve accompanies, and is posterior to, the superficial temporal artery.
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