The arterial supply of the nasal cavity

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2017 Feb;274(2):809-815. doi: 10.1007/s00405-016-4281-1. Epub 2016 Aug 27.


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.

Keywords: Arterial anatomy; Endonasal flap; Nasal cavity; Nasoseptal flap; Rhinology; Vasculature.

MeSH terms

  • Arteries / anatomy & histology*
  • Cadaver
  • Dissection
  • Endoscopy
  • Humans
  • Nasal Cavity / anatomy & histology
  • Nasal Cavity / blood supply*
  • Nasal Cavity / surgery
  • Paranasal Sinuses / anatomy & histology*