At its origin from the common carotid artery it is enlarged to form the carotid sinus, a slight dilatation which has baroreceptors supplied by the glossopharyngeal nerve in its wall. Associated with this is the carotid body, a chemoreceptor supplied by the same nerve. The internal carotid has no branches in the neck. It enters the cranial cavity via the carotid canal in the petrous temporal bone, accompanied by a sympathetic plexus. Within the skull it passes forwards in the cavernous sinus and then turns backwards behind the anterior clinoid process to break up into its three terminal branches.
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