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Common carotid artery

Other Terms: Carotid artery, Trunk of common carotid tree, Arteria carotis communis, Artère carotide commune


The right and left common carotid arteries are dissimilar in origin, but occupy similar positions in the neck. The right common carotid arises from the brachiocephalic artery behind the upper margin of the right sternoclavicular articulation. The left common carotid arises from the highest part of the transverse portion of the aortic arch. The left common carotid artery arises within the chest. It is the longer of the two vessels. At the lower part of the neck, the common carotid artery is situated deeply beneath the sternal origin of the sternocleidomastoid, the sternohyoid, and the sternothyroid. Then it ascends in the inner compartment of the sheath of the vessels, beneath the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, to terminate opposite the upper border of the thyroid cartilage by bifurcating into the external and internal carotid arteries. As the artery ascends, it diverges from the median line. It is covered by the skin, superficial fascia, platysma, superficial layer of the deep fascia, the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and the anterior wall of the carotid sheath. In addition to these, at the lower part of the neck are the sternohyoid and sternothyroid muscles, the thyroid gland, which slightly overlaps it, the omohyoid muscle and the anterior jugular vein, which cross it. The descendens hypoglossi nerve and ansa cervicalis also lie in front of it. The middle sternomastoid artery and the superior and middle thyroid veins cross it. Behind it are the rectus capitis anticus major and the longus colli muscle, the pneumogastric, sympathetic, and cardiac nerves, the recurrent laryngeal nerve, at the lower part of the neck and the inferior thyroid artery crossing behind it at the level of the cricoids cartilage. To the inner side of the artery are the trachea and esophagus, the recurrent laryngeal nerve lying between them, the lateral lobe of the thyroid gland, the terminal portion of the inferior thyroid artery, the larynx, the pharynx, and the superior thyroid artery. The internal jugular vein and the pneumogastric nerve are at the outer side of the artery. The common carotid artery divides into the external and internal carotid arteries.


Arteria carotis communis


Artère carotide commune


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