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Free Content Anatomy of the External Carotid Artery and Its Branches Using Flat-Panel Angiography

The external carotid artery (ECA) and its branches are frequently involved in different vascular and tumoral pathologies that affect the brain, head, and neck. There are important anatomic references that cannot be adequately represented on DSA, a technique commonly used to characterize the ECA. Flat-panel angiography is a 3-dimensional rotational angiographic technique that uses a flat panel detector to show highly detailed vascular anatomy and the adjacent bone structures due to its high spatial and contrast resolutions. We reviewed 119 angiography and flat-panel angiography studies, and described branches and courses of the superior thyroid, lingual, facial, ascending pharyngeal, occipital, posterior auricular, internal maxillary, and superficial temporal arteries. DSA is considered the criterion standard for the study of the vascular anatomy, but we believe that flat-panel angiography with MPR is a better method to learn and understand, with a multidimensional platform, the vascular anatomy of the fine branches of the ECA and their relations with the bone structures of the skull base.

Learning Objective: Learn and understand the normal anatomy of the external carotid artery and its branches as seen on flat-panel angiography.
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