Axillary vein

Axillary vein and its tributariesAnatomical features of the axillary vein, its tributaries and venous outflow areas
~ 3 min

We will consider the anatomy, areas of blood drainage, and anastomoses of the axillary vein.

The axillary vein (vena axillaris) is a large, paired vein that is located in the axilla on the right and left.

Axillary vein (vena axillaris)
Axillary vein (vena axillaris)

It is accompanied by the subclavian artery, as well as by the nerve trunks of the brachial plexus.

Axillary vein (vena axillaris)
Axillary vein (vena axillaris)

The axillary vein (vena axillaris) arises at the level of the inferior border of the pectoralis major muscle from the brachial veins (vv. brachiales)

Brachial veins (vv. brachiales)
Brachial veins (vv. brachiales)

and ends by the level of the external border of the 1st rib, where it continues into the subclavian vein (v. subclavia).

Subclavian vein (v. subclavia)
Subclavian vein (v. subclavia)

The axillary lymph nodes located nearby are of great importance. They communicate with each other by lymphatic vessels and form the axillary and subclavian lymph plexus (plexus lymphaticis axillaris et subclavius). Lymph drainage from the axillary lymph nodes is carried out into the subclavian trunk, which ends by the thoracic duct or the subclavian vein.

The axillary vein has the following main tributaries:

  1. The thoraco-acromial vein (v.thoracoacromialis) receives blood from the small veins of the shoulder joint, deltoid, and both pectoral muscles.

    Thoraco-acromial vein (v.thoracoacromialis)
    Thoraco-acromial vein (v.thoracoacromialis)
  2. The lateral thoracic vein (v.thoracica lateralis) drains blood from the tributaries of the veins of the mammary gland and partially of the pectoral muscles.

    Lateral thoracic vein (v.thoracica lateralis)
    Lateral thoracic vein (v.thoracica lateralis)
  3. The superior thoracic vein (v.thoracica superior), by which small tributaries of subclavian muscle veins, veins of the pectoralis muscles, and veins from the serratus anterior muscle and intercostal muscles end. The superior pectoral vein drains venous blood from these muscles.

  4. The subcapular vein (v. subscapularis) is formed from the veins surrounding the scapula and the subcapular veins. It drains blood from the muscles of the scapular region.

    Subcapular vein (v. subscapularis)
    Subcapular vein (v. subscapularis)
  5. The thoracodorsal vein (v. thoracicodorsalis) ends by the scapular artery, also draining blood from the scapular region.

    Thoracodorsal vein (v. thoracodorsalis)
    Thoracodorsal vein (v. thoracodorsalis)

    There are also several small tributaries draining blood from the respective areas:

  6. The vein to the profunda brachii artery (v.comitans arteriae profundae brachii)

    Vein to the profunda brachii artery (v. comitans arteriae profundae brachii)
    Vein to the profunda brachii artery (v. comitans arteriae profundae brachii)
  7. The vein to the subscapular artery (v.comitans arteriae subscapularis)

    Vein to the subscapular artery (v. comitans arteriae subscapularis)
    Vein to the subscapular artery (v. comitans arteriae subscapularis)
  8. The vein to the posterior circumflex humeral artery (v. comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri posterioris)

    Vein to the posterior circumflex humeral artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri posterioris)
    Vein to the posterior circumflex humeral artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri posterioris)
  9. The vein to the anterior circumflex humeral artery (v. comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri anterioris)

    Vein to the anterior circumflex humeral artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri anterioris)
    Vein to the anterior circumflex humeral artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri anterioris)
  10. The vein to the circumflex scapular artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae scapulae)

    Vein to the circumflex scapular artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae scapulae)
    Vein to the circumflex scapular artery (v.comitans arteriae circumflexae scapulae)
Dictionary

Axillary vein and its tributaries

Axillary vein
vena axillaris
Axillary and subclavian lymphatic plexus
plexus lymphaticis axillaris et subclavius
Superior thoracic vein
v. thoracica superior
Thoraco-acromial vein
v. thoracoacromialis
Lateral thoracic vein
v. thoracica lateralis
Subscapular vein
v. subscapularis
Thoracodorsal vein
v. thoracico dorsalis
Vein to the deep artery of the arm
v. comitans arteriae profundae brachii
Vein to the subscapular artery
v. comitans arteriae subscapularis
Vein to the posterior circumflex humeral artery
v. comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri posterioris
Vein to the anterior circumflex humeral artery
v. comitans arteriae circumflexae humeri anterioris
Vein to the posterior circumflex scapular artery
v. comitans arteriae circumflexae scapulae
Clavipectoral triangle
trigonum clavipectorale
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