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Veins of Head and Neck

It is the continuation of axillary vein and extends from the outer border of the first rib to the medial border of the scalenus anterior, where it joins the internal jugular vein to form brachiocephalic vein.

The subclavian vein forms an arch across the pleura at a level below the arch of the subclavian artery.

The tributaries of the subclavian veins are as follows:

  • External jugular vein.
  • Dorsal scapular vein.
  • Thoracic duct on the left side and right lymphatic duct on the right side.
  • Anterior jugular vein.
  • Cephalic vein.

Internal Jugular Vein

The internal jugular vein is usually the largest vein in the neck. It begins as the direct continuation of the sigmoid sinus at the base of the skull below the jugular foramen and descends vertically downwards to end behind the sternal end of the clavicle by joining the subclavian vein to form the brachiocephalic vein. The internal jugular vein drains brain and most of the tissues of the head and neck.

Some of the highlighted features of the Internal Jugular Vein are:

  • It is vertically applied to the lateral side of the internal and common carotid arteries, enclosed with them and the vagus nerve in the facial sheath called carotid sheath.
  • The deep cervical lymph nodes lie along its entire course.

Tributaries of the Internal Jugular vein are:

Inferior petrosal vein—is usually the first tributary and joins the internal jugular vein immediately below the jugular foramen.

  1. Pharyngeal veins—from pharyngeal plexus.
  2. Common facial vein.
  3. Lingual vein.
  4. Superior thyroid vein.
  5. Middle thyroid vein.
  6. Occipital vein (only sometimes).






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