Background:The external carotid artery (ECA) and its branches serve as the major vascular
channels of the head and neck region. The present study was conducted to assess anatomical
variations in the branches of external carotid artery.
Materials & Methods: 60 neck-halves of embalmed cadavers were taken and variation in
ECA was determined.
Results: Average length of the external carotid artery from its origin by bifurcation of the
common carotid artery to itstermination is 8.2 cm on the right side and 8.0 cm on the left
side.Common variation was thyrolingual trunk in 6, direct origin of STA from CCA in 10,
linguofacial trunk in 25, occipito-auricular trunk in 4, thyrolinguofacial trunk in 5, accessory
branches of ECA in 3, SLA direct branch of ECA in 2, terminal trifurcation of ECA in 4 and
sternocleidomastoid branch from CCA in 1 cadaver. The difference was significant (P< 0.05).
Conclusion: External carotid artery shows variations in its branching. A thorough knowledge
is must to avoid intra-operative secondary haemorrhage and post-operative complications.
Key words: external carotid artery, embalmed cadavers, secondary haemorrhage