In vivo analysis of the vascular pattern of the superficial temporal artery based on digital subtraction angiography


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Abstract

Background:Existing anatomic descriptions of the superficial temporal artery (STA) are mainly based on cadaver studies and do not accurately reflect the in vivo situation. In this study, the anatomical course and branching pattern of the STA were analyzed with digital subtraction angiographies (DSAs).Methods:DSAs of 93 Caucasian individuals between 16- and 79-years old were retrospectively analyzed regarding the course and branching pattern of the STA as well as surgically relevant inner diameters and lengths of its main branches.Results:In total, 11 variations in the branching pattern of the terminal STA were found. About 89% of the examined individuals demonstrated the classic variation in which the main trunk of the STA bifurcates into a single frontal and parietal branch. In 60% of cases with an existing bifurcation, the division of the main trunk of the STA was located above the zygoma. The mean inner diameters of the STA main trunk, the frontal branch and the parietal branch were 2.4 ± 0.6 mm, 1.3 ± 0.6 mm and 1.2 ± 0.4 mm, respectively. The surgically relevant “working lengths” of the frontal and parietal branches above the upper margin of the zygoma up to an inner diameter of 1 mm were 106.4 ± 62.1mm and 99.7 ± 40.9 mm, respectively.Conclusions:The common variations of the branching pattern of the STA are described in this study. Furthermore, surgically relevant inner diameters and lengths of the main branches of the STA are determined. These findings should improve our understanding of the suitability and usefulness of the STA for various surgical procedures. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Microsurgery 35:380–386, 2015.

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