Anatomical Science International

, Volume 86, Issue 4, pp 232–236 | Cite as

Divided and reunited maxillary artery: developmental and clinical considerations

  • Philip G. Claire
  • Kathryn Gibbs
  • Sunny H. Hwang
  • Robert V. Hill
Case Report

Abstract

We describe an anatomical variation of the right maxillary artery, discovered during dissection of a male human cadaver. The right maxillary artery bifurcates into unequal superficial (larger) and deep (smaller) divisions. Each division gives off several branches that distribute to the muscles of mastication, facial structures, and teeth. The superficial and deep divisions then reunite to form a complete loop, before giving off terminal branches in the pterygopalatine fossa. The entire arterial loop lies superficial to the branches of the mandibular nerve. This case provides further evidence for a network of vascular rings that surround soft tissue structures in the developing infratemporal fossa. Persistence of all or part of these rings determines adult anatomy. Extreme anatomical variations such as this one may complicate major procedures such as radical maxillectomy, as well as simple procedures such as inferior alveolar nerve blocks.

Keywords

Anatomical variation Clinical anatomy Infratemporal fossa Maxillary artery Pterygopalatine fossa 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank James Giannone for helpful comments that improved the manuscript. This research was supported by the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine Office of Research.

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Copyright information

© Japanese Association of Anatomists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip G. Claire
    • 1
  • Kathryn Gibbs
    • 1
  • Sunny H. Hwang
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert V. Hill
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of AnatomyNew York College of Osteopathic MedicineOld WestburyUSA
  2. 2.Kaplan PublishingNew YorkUSA

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