Superficial temporal vein

The superficial temporal vein arises from a venous plexus that is found on the lateral side of the head. This plexus forms extensive anastomoses across the scalp and temporal region, and it also communicates with the supratrochlear and supraorbital veins, as well as with the posterior auricular and occipital veins and the same plexus of the opposite side.

The superficial temporal vein has several branches, including the frontal and parietal branches, which collect venous blood from the superficial muscles and skin of the temporal area. 

  • The frontal branch communicates with the supratrochlear and supraorbital veins.
  • In contrast, the parietal branch forms anastomoses with the occipital vein.

These branches communicate also with the parietal emissary vein, which connects the superficial temporal vein with the superior sagittal sinus. 

From the temporal region, these branches travel downward towards the zygomatic arch. Above the zygomatic arch, they unite, forming one common trunk - the superficial temporal vein. 

Further, the superficial temporal vein descends along the anterior aspect of the auricle, going together with the superficial temporal artery. When the vein enters the parotid gland, it unites with the maxillary vein (Read more!), forming the retromandibular vein (Read more!). It happens approximately at the level of the mandibular neck.

Along its course, the superficial temporal vein receives several more tributaries, including the following:

Overall, the superficial temporal vein collects venous blood from the forehead, parietal and temporal regions, external ear, and parotid gland.