Figure 1 depicts the brain’s blood supply routes. The Carotid arteries – both internal and external branches – serve as main supply routes. Both originate from the common carotid artery; here we see the right side supply routes. We have a similar system on the left side too.

This diagram shows the blood vessels in the head and brain.

Figure 1: Brain’s blood supply routes

Source:, RICE University
under the CC BY 4.0 license

The outer external branch transports oxygen and food to the face and all over the skull; the inner branch transports to the inside of the brain.

The junction where the common carotid artery divides into two is a crucial place. It is the commonplace where fat deposits, a plaque develops, and then narrowing the route happens. We can hear a sound – “bruit” – using a stethoscope. They are at high risk of getting a stroke either by cutting off the blood supply or by dislodging plaque particles. The plaque particles can travel higher through blood further inside and may cut off blood supply to a smaller area of the brain. This type of stroke, which is the commonest type, is called an ischemic stroke.

Figure 2 (below) illustrates blood supply on the skull base.

This diagram shows the arteries of the brain.

Figure 2: Blood supply routes on the base of the brain:

Source:, RICE University
under the CC BY 4.0 license

Figure 3 shows the brain regions’ main supply routes: Anterior, middle, and cerebral. Knowing these supply areas is vey useful because the impairments due to an interruption to the blood supply in a stroke depends on which supply route is blocked.

File:Cerebral vascular territories.jpg

Figure 3: Brain’s main blood supply areas according to its supply routes

Source: Frank Gaillard. Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator (Brain_stem_normal_human.svg) CC BY-SA 3.0

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