Internal iliac vein

The internal iliac veinAnatomical features of the internal iliac vein, its tributaries and outflow areas
~ 3 min

In this note, we will consider the anatomy, areas of blood drainage and anastomoses of the internal iliac vein.

The internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna) lies on the lateral wall of the pelvis behind the artery of the same name. It arises above the greater sciatic notch by the confluence of numerous pelvic veins.

Internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna)
Internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna)

It flows into the common iliac vein (v. iliaca communis).

Internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna dextra)
Internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna dextra)
Left internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna sinistra)
Left internal iliac vein (v. iliaca interna sinistra)
Common iliac vein (v. iliaca communis)
Common iliac vein (v. iliaca communis)

This vein drains blood from the pelvic organs and pelvic wall, perineum and external genitalia, gluteal region, and medial femoral area.

The tributaries of the internal iliac vein can be divided into two groups:

  1. Parietal tributaries

  2. Visceral tributaries

Parietal tributaries carry blood from the walls of the pelvic cavity and include:

  1. The superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior)

    Superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior) – with the arteries of the same name
    Superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior) – with the arteries of the same name
  2. The inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior)

    Inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior) – with the arteries of the same name
    Inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior) – with the arteries of the same name
  3. Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)

    Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)
    Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)
  4. Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)

    Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)
    Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)
  5. The iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis)

Iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis)
Iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis)

Visceral tributaries carry blood from the pelvic organs and these include:

  1. The sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)

    Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)
    Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)
  2. The prostatic venous plexus (plexus venosus prostaticus)

  3. Uterine veins (vv. uterinae)

    Uterine veins (vv. uterinae) – with the arteries of the same name
    Uterine veins (vv. uterinae) – with the arteries of the same name
  4. Vesical veins (vv. vesicales)

    Vesical veins (vv. vesicales)
    Vesical veins (vv. vesicales)
    Vesical veins (vv. vesicales) – with the arteries of the same name
    Vesical veins (vv. vesicales) – with the arteries of the same name
  5. The internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)

    Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
    Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
    Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
    Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
  6. Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae)

Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name

Let’s consider the tributaries in greater detail.

The superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior) passes posteriorly between the lumbosacral trunk of the sacral plexus and the first sacral spinal nerve. Then it leaves the pelvis through the greater sciatic foramen above the piriformis muscle.

superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior) – with the arteries of the same name
superior gluteal vein (v. gluteus superior) – with the arteries of the same name

It drains blood from the piriformis muscle, obturator internus muscle, ileum, gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minor, skin over the sacrum, hip joint, tensor of the fascia lata of the thigh.

The inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior) drains blood from the piriformis, coccygeus, iliococcygeus, gluteus maximus muscles, as well as from the obturator internus muscle, superior and inferior gemullus muscles, and quadratus femoris muscle. Small veins from the sciatic nerve, as well as the skin of the gluteal and femoral areas end by it.

Inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior) – with the arteries of the same name
Inferior gluteal vein (v. gluteus inferior) – with the arteries of the same name

Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)

Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)
Obturator veins (vv. obturatoriae)

Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)

Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)
Lateral sacral veins (vv. sacrales laterales)

The iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis).

Iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis).
Iliolumbar vein (v. iliolumbalis).

The last three veins are the venae comitans to the arteries of the same name. These veins have valves.

The sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis) is formed by the anastomoses of the roots of the sacral lateral and median veins.

Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)
Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)
Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)
Sacral venous plexus (plexus venosus sacralis)

The prostatic venous plexus (plexus venosus prostaticus) is a thick plexus of major veins surrounding the prostate gland and seminal vesicles. The following veins end by this plexus:

the deep dorsal vein of the penis (v. dorsalis profunda penis);

Deep dorsal vein of the penis (v. dorsalis profunda penis)
Deep dorsal vein of the penis (v. dorsalis profunda penis)

deep veins of the penis (vv. profundae penis); posterior scrotal veins (vv. scrotales posteriores), which penetrate into the pelvic cavity through the genitourinary diaphragm.

Posterior scrotal veins (vv. scrotales posteriores) – with the arteries of the same name
Posterior scrotal veins (vv. scrotales posteriores) – with the arteries of the same name

The vaginal venous plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis) surrounds the urethra and vagina. In the superior part, it passes into the uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus) surrounding the cervix.

Vaginal venous plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis)
Vaginal venous plexus (plexus venosus vaginalis)
Uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus)
Uterine venous plexus (plexus venosus uterinus)

The blood drainage from these plexuses occurs throug he uterine veins (vv. uterinae).

Uterine veins (vv. uterinae) – with the arteries of the same name
Uterine veins (vv. uterinae) – with the arteries of the same name

The urinary venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis) covers the urinary bladder from the flanks and in the bottom area.

Urinary venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis)
Urinary venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis)
Urinary venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis)
Urinary venous plexus (plexus venosus vesicalis)

Blood from this plexus drains through the vesical veins (vv. vesicales).

Vesical veins (vv. vesicales)
Vesical veins (vv. vesicales)
Vesical veins (vv. vesicales) – with the arteries of the same name
Vesical veins (vv. vesicales) – with the arteries of the same name

The rectal venous plexus (plexus venosus rectalis) adheres to the rectum from behind and from the flanks, and also branches in its submucosa. It has the most complex structure in the inferior part of the rectum.

Rectal venous plexus (plexus venosus rectalis)
Rectal venous plexus (plexus venosus rectalis)

From this plexus, blood drains through one unpaired and two paired middle and inferior rectal veins, which anastomose with each other in the walls of the rectum.

The superior rectal vein (v. rectalis superior) ends by the inferior mesenteric vein.

Superior rectal vein (v. rectalis superior)
Superior rectal vein (v. rectalis superior)
Superior rectal vein (v. rectalis superior) – with the arteries of the same name
Superior rectal vein (v. rectalis superior) – with the arteries of the same name

The middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) are paired, they drain blood from the middle part of the rectum and end by the internal iliac vein.

Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae)
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae)
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name
Middle rectal veins (vv. rectales mediae) – with the arteries of the same name

The lower rectal veins (vv. rectales inferiores) are paired, blood drains through them into the internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna) (tributary of the internal iliac vein).

Lower rectal veins (vv. rectales inferiores)
Lower rectal veins (vv. rectales inferiores)
Lower rectal veins (vv. rectales inferiores) – with the arteries of the same name
Lower rectal veins (vv. rectales inferiores) – with the arteries of the same name
Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
Internal pedundal vein (v. pudenda interna)
Dictionary

The internal iliac vein

Internal iliac vein
v. iliaca interna
Common iliac vein
v. iliaca communis
Obturator veins
vv. obturatoriae
Lateral sacral veins
vv. sacrales laterales
Iliolumbar vein
v. iliolumbalis
Sacral venous plexus
plexus venosus sacralis
Prostatic venous plexus
plexus venosus prostaticus
Deep dorsal vein of thepenis
v. dorsalis profundapenis
Deep veins of the penis
vv. profundae penis
Posterior scrotal veins
vv. scrotales posteriores
Vaginal venous plexus
plexus venosus vaginalis
Uterine venous plexus
plexus venosus uterinus
Uterine veins
vv. uterinae
Vesical venous plexus
plexus venosus vesicalis
Vesical veins
vv. vesicales
Rectal venous plexus
plexus venosus rectalis
Superior rectal vein
v. rectalis superior
Middle rectal veins
vv. rectales mediae
Inferior rectal veins
vv. rectales inferiores
Internal pudendal vein
v. pudenda interna
Superior gluteal veins
v. gluteus superior
Inferior gluteal veins
v. gluteus inferior
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