The arterial supply of the nasal cavity


With the development of endonasal flaps, an understanding of the arterial anatomy of the nasal cavity has become increasingly important for clinicians. Despite this, there is a lack of current, accurate overviews in the literature. We have used both endoscopic and gross dissection of six fresh frozen cadaveric heads, alongside a literature review, to produce a comprehensive description of the anatomy. Four heads had their arterial systems injected with red latex. Three injected and two uninjected heads were dissected endoscopically, to provide a total of seven sides. The fourth injected head was hemisected for gross examination. The arterial systems were dissected and examined. The posterior septal artery was found to enter the nasal cavity from the sphenopalatine foramen in five sides. It bifurcated on the sphenoid rostrum in seven sides with a bifurcation lateral to the sphenoid ostium occurring in five sides and a medial bifurcation in two sides. The posterior septal artery supplied Kiesselbach’s plexus on the nasal septum along with the greater palatine artery and septal branches of the superior labial and anterior ethmoidal arteries. The posterior lateral nasal artery arose from the sphenopalatine foramen in five sides to supply the lateral wall. The lateral wall branch of the anterior ethmoidal and the anterior lateral nasal artery anastomosed at the head of the inferior turbinate. These findings were mostly consistent with the current literature. We have produced a detailed and up-to-date description and diagram of the arterial supply to the nasal cavity, which may be of use to clinicians, anatomists and students.

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The authors would like to acknowledge the staff of the Surgical Skills Laboratory at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Professor Anshul Sama at Nottingham University Hospital, Professor Christian von Buchwald at Copenhagen University Hospital and Professor Jørgen Tranum-Jensen at Copenhagen University.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francisco J. D. MacArthur.

Ethics declarations

This study was funded by the University of Edinburgh via course fees for the Masters in Human Anatomy degree program.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the University of Edinburgh and the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all cadaveric tissue donors.

Conflict of interest

Neither author has any conflict of interest to declare.

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MacArthur, F.J.D., McGarry, G.W. The arterial supply of the nasal cavity. Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol 274, 809–815 (2017).

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  • Nasal cavity
  • Rhinology
  • Vasculature
  • Arterial anatomy
  • Endonasal flap
  • Nasoseptal flap