The external carotid artery gives origin to eight branches, including the two into which it finally divides. For the purposes of description these may be arranged into three sets. 1. Those which are directed forwards, viz., the superior thyroid, the lingual, and the facial. 2. Those which run backwards, — the occipital and posterior auricular; and 3, those which ascend, viz., the ascending pharyngeal branch with the temporal and internal maxillary, — the two terminal branches.
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In the neck the internal carotid artery usually gives no branch ; whilst within the carotid canal it sends a small offset to the tympanum, which anastomoses with the tympanic and stylo-mastoid arteries; within the cavernous sinus, some small branches, named arteries receptaculi, proceed from it to supply the walls of the sinus and the adjacent dura mater. One of these, distributed to the dura mater, is the anterior meningeal.
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In most parts of the body the description of the artery of one side serves for that of the other likewise ; but this is not the case as regards the subclavian arteries (French : artère sous-clavière), for, as the right subclavian artery commences at the division of the innominate artery, whilst the left subclavian arises at once from the arch of the aorta, it follows that the two vessels must, in the first part of their course, differ materially in their length, direction, and connexions with contiguous parts.
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The branches of the radial artery may be arranged according as they are given off in the fore-arm, on the wrist, and in the hand. The branches which arise from the radial in the fore-arm, are the radial recurrent, the muscular branches, the anterior carpal, and the superficial volar.
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The three large branches which arise from the first part of the subclavian artery spring from the parent trunk very close to each other, and are deeply seated at their origin under cover of the internal jugular vein. They proceed, however, from different sides of the parent vessel, pursue different directions, and are distributed to remotely separate parts.
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The brachial artery gives some unnamed branches, which are directed outwards and backwards to the muscles in its immediate neighbourhood, viz., to the coraco-brachialis, biceps, and brachialis anticus; the following, which incline inwards, have received names, and require description.
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In the fore-arm and on the wrist, the ulnar artery gives off several branches, which have received particular names. The branches in the fore-arm are the anterior and posterior recurrent, the interosseous, and several muscular branches. Those given at the wrist are named carpal branches (anterior and posterior).
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In the operation for tying the brachial artery, the known direction of the vessel, and the inner margin of the biceps muscle chiefly aid in determining its position. In consequence of the thinness of the parts which cover the artery, and the position of the basilic and median basilic veins, with respect to it. even the integuments must be divided with care.
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