Internal jugular vein

The internal jugular vein and its tributariesAnatomical features of the internal jugular vein and its tributaries together with venous outflow areas
~ 3 min

Veins are vessels that carry blood from the internal organs to the heart.

In the human body, vessels and nerves usually lie side by side. Such formations are called vascular-nervous bundles. An artery, nerve and veins pass through these bundles. Veins are often called the same as an artery, with several veins corresponding to one artery.

But there are exceptions. Some veins have their own name and their own topography features. We will consider such a vein today.

In this video, we will consider the anatomy, areas of blood drainage, and anastomoses of the internal jugular vein. This is one of the two large veins that provide venous outflow from the organs of the head.

The internal jugular vein (v. jugularis interna) is a large vein and a direct continuation of the sigmoid sinus. It drains blood from the organs of the head and neck. It arises at the level of the jugular foramen, below which there is a small widening called the superior bulb of the jugular vein (bulbus superior venae jugularis).

Internal jugular vein (v. jugularis interna)
Internal jugular vein (v. jugularis interna)
Sigmoid sinus (sinus sigmoideus)
Sigmoid sinus (sinus sigmoideus)

First, the vein goes behind the internal carotid artery, and then laterally to it, and is located behind the common carotid artery, in the investing layer together with it and the vagus nerve.

Jugular vein (bulbus superior venae jugularis)
Jugular vein (bulbus superior venae jugularis)

Above the confluence with the subclavian vein, the internal jugular vein has an inferior bulb of the internal jugular vein (bulbus inferior venae jugularis). There is one valve above and below the bulb. Through the sigmoid sinus, from which the internal jugular vein arises, venous blood flows from the system of the sinuses of the cranial dura mater, by which the superficial and deep cerebral veins, diploic, as well as ocular veins and labyrinthine veins end, which are essentially intracranial tributaries of the internal jugular vein.

Internal jugular vein (bulbus inferior venae jugularis)
Internal jugular vein (bulbus inferior venae jugularis)
Dural venous sinuses
Dural venous sinuses

The tributaries of the internal jugular vein can be divided into two groups with respect to the topography of the areas from which they drain blood

1. Intracranial tributaries are veins that bring blood from the cranial cavity.

2. Extracranial tributaries are veins that carry blood from the organs of the face and neck.

Diploic veins (vv. diploicae) are valveless, and blood flows through them from the bones of the cranium.

Diploic veins (vv. diploicae)
Diploic veins (vv. diploicae)

These are thin-walled, rather wide veins that arise in the spongy bone of the calvaria. In the cranial cavity, they communicate with the meningeal veins and sinuses of the cranial dura mater, and externally, through the emissary veins, they communicate with the veins of the common integuments of the head.

Let’s consider specific diploic veins.

  • The frontal diploic vein (v. diploica frontalis) is the largest, it ends bythe superior sagittal sinus.
  • Frontal diploic vein (v. diploica frontalis)
    Frontal diploic vein (v. diploica frontalis)
  • The anterior temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis anterior) ends by the sphenoparietal sinus.
  • Temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis)
    Temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis)
  • The posterior temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis posterior) ends by the mastoid emissary vein.
  • Posterior temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis posterior)
    Posterior temporal diploic vein (v. diploica temporalis posterior)
  • The occipital diploic vein (v. diploica occipitalis) ends by the transverse sinus or the occipital emissary vein.
  • Occipital diploic vein (v. diploica occipitalis)
    Occipital diploic vein (v. diploica occipitalis)

Emissary veins (vv. emissariae). Sinuses sinuses of the cranial dura mater communicate with the veins located in the common integuments of the head. Through the emissary veins located in small bone canals, blood flows from the sinuses to the veins draining blood from the common integuments of the head.

There are three main emissary veins:

  • The parietal emissary vein (v. emissaria parietalis) passes through the parietal foramen of the same bone, communicating the superior sagittal sinus with the external veins of the head.
  • Parietal emissary vein (v. emissaria parietalis)
    Parietal emissary vein (v. emissaria parietalis)
  • The mastoid emissary vein (v. emissaria mastoidea) is located in the canal of the mastoid process of the temporal bone.
  • Mastoid emissary vein (v. emissaria mastoidea)
    Mastoid emissary vein (v. emissaria mastoidea)
  • The condylar emissary vein (v. emissaria condylaris) passes through the condylar canal of the occipital bone.
  • Condylar emissary vein (v. emissaria condylaris)
    Condylar emissary vein (v. emissaria condylaris)

The parietal and mastoid emissary veins communicate the sigmoid sinus with the tributaries of the occipital vein, and the condylar emissary vein, in addition, with the veins of the external vertebral plexus.

The superior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica superior). It is valveless. The veins of the nose, forehead, upper eyelid, ethmoidal bone, lacrimal gland, membranes of the eyeball and most of its muscles end by it. It is larger than the inferior one. In the area of the medial corner of the eye, it anastomoses with the facial vein.

Superior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica superior)
Superior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica superior)
Superior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica superior)
Superior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica superior)

The inferior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica inferior) is valveless. It is formed from the veins of the inferior eyelid and adjacent muscles of the eye, is located on the lower wall of the orbit under the optic nerve, and ends by the superior ocular vein, which exits the orbit through the superior orbital fissure and flows into the cavernous sinus.

Inferior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica inferior)
Inferior ophthalmic vein (v. ophthalmica inferior)

Labyrinthine veins (vv. labyrinthi) exit the petrous part through the inner acoustic meatus and end by the inferior petrosal sinus.

Pharyngeal veins (vv.pharyngeales) are valveless, drain blood from the pharyngeal plexus (plexus pharyngeus) located on the posterior and lateral surfaces of the pharynx.

Pharyngeal veins (vv.pharyngeales)
Pharyngeal veins (vv.pharyngeales)
Pharyngeal plexus (plexus pharyngeus)
Pharyngeal plexus (plexus pharyngeus)

In turn, the pharyngeal plexus drains blood from the following organs:

  • The pharynx
  • The auditory tube
  • The soft palate
  • The occipital part of the cranial dura mater

The lingual vein (v. lingualis) consists of the following veins:

Lingual vein (v. lingualis)
Lingual vein (v. lingualis)
  • Dorsal lingual veins (vv. dorsales linguae)
  • Dorsal lingual veins (vv. dorsales linguae)
    Dorsal lingual veins (vv. dorsales linguae)
  • Deep lingual vein (v. profunda linguae)
  • Deep lingual vein (v. profunda linguae)
    Deep lingual vein (v. profunda linguae)
  • Sublingual veins (v. sublingualis)
  • Sublingual veins (v. sublingualis)
    Sublingual veins (v. sublingualis)

It drains blood from the tongue.

The superior thyroid vein (v. thyroidea superior) adheres to the artery of the same name, contains valves, and ends by the facial vein. The following veins end by the superior thyroid vein:

Superior thyroid vein (v. thyroidea superior)
Superior thyroid vein (v. thyroidea superior)
  • the superior laryngeal vein (v. laryngea superior)
  • Superior laryngeal vein (v. laryngea)
    Superior laryngeal vein (v. laryngea)
  • the sternocleidomastoid vein (v. sternocleidomastoidea)
  • Sternocleidomastoid vein (v. sternocleidomastoidea)
    Sternocleidomastoid vein (v. sternocleidomastoidea)

Sometimes one of the thyroid veins passes laterally from the internal jugular vein and ends by it independently as the middle thyroid vein (v. thyroidea media).

Middle thyroid vein (v. thyroidea media)
Middle thyroid vein (v. thyroidea media)

The facial vein (v. facialis) ends by the internal jugular vein at the level of the hyoid bone.

Facial vein (v. facialis)
Facial vein (v. facialis)

Smaller veins end by it, carrying blood from the soft tissues of the face:

  • The angular vein (v. angularis)
  • Angular vein (v. angularis)
    Angular vein (v. angularis)
  • The supra-orbital vein (v. supraorbitalis)
  • Supra-orbital vein (v. supraorbitalis)
    Supra-orbital vein (v. supraorbitalis)
  • The superior palpebral vein (v. palpebralis superior)
  • Superior palpebral vein (v. palpebralis superior)
    Superior palpebral vein (v. palpebralis superior)
  • The inferior palpebral veins (v. palpebralis inferior)
  • Inferior palpebral veins (v. palpebralis inferior)
    Inferior palpebral veins (v. palpebralis inferior)
  • External nasal veins (vv. nasales externae)
  • External nasal veins (vv. nasales externae)
    External nasal veins (vv. nasales externae)
  • The superior labial vein (v. labialis superior)
  • Superior labial vein (v. labialis superior)
    Superior labial vein (v. labialis superior)
  • The inferior labial vein (v. labialis inferior)
  • Inferior labial vein (v. labialis inferior)
    Inferior labial vein (v. labialis inferior)
  • The external palatine vein (v. palatina externa)
  • External palatine vein (v. palatina externa)
    External palatine vein (v. palatina externa)
  • The submental vein (v. submentalis)
  • Submental vein (v. submentalis)
    Submental vein (v. submentalis)
  • Parotid veins (vv. parotidei)
  • Parotid veins (vv. parotidei)
    Parotid veins (vv. parotidei)
  • The deep facial vein (v. profunda faciei)
  • Deep facial vein (v. profunda faciei)
    Deep facial vein (v. profunda faciei)

The retromandibular vein (v. retromandibularis) is a large vessel that passes in front of the auricle, through the parotid gland behind the ramus of the mandible, outwards from the external carotid artery, and ends by the internal jugular vein.

Retromandibular vein (v. retromandibularis)
Retromandibular vein (v. retromandibularis)

Blood flows into this vein through the following tributaries:

  • Anterior auricular veins (vv. auriculares anteriores)
  • The superficial temporal vein (v. temporalis superficialis)
  • Superficial temporal vein (v. temporalis superficialis)
    Superficial temporal vein (v. temporalis superficialis)
  • The middle temporal vein (v. temporalis media)
  • Middle temporal vein (v. temporalis media)
    Middle temporal vein (v. temporalis media)
  • The deep temporal vein (v. temporalis profunda)
  • Deep temporal vein (v. temporalis profunda)
    Deep temporal vein (v. temporalis profunda)
  • Veins of the temporomandibular joint (vv. articularis temporomandibularis)
  • Veins of the temporomandibular joint (vv. articularis temporomandibularis)
    Veins of the temporomandibular joint (vv. articularis temporomandibularis)
  • The veins of the pterygoid plexus (vv. plexus pterygoidei) – by which middle meningeal veins (vv. meningeale mediale), veins of the parotid gland (vv. parotideae), and veins of the middle ear (vv. tympanicae) end.
  • Veins of the pterygoid plexus (vv. plexus pterygoidei)
    Veins of the pterygoid plexus (vv. plexus pterygoidei)
Dictionary

The internal jugular veinand its tributaries

Internal jugular vein
v. jugularis interna
Superior bulb of the jugular vein
bulbus superior venaejugularis
Inferior bulb of the jugular vein
bulbus inferior venaejugularis
Diploic veins
vv. diploicae
Frontal diploic vein
v. diploica frontalis
Anterior temporal diploic vein
v. diploica temporalis anterior
Posterior temporal diploic vein
v. diploica temporalis posterior
Occipital diploic vein
v. diploica occipitalis
Emissary veins
vv. emissariae
Parietal emissary vein
v. emissaria parietalis
Mastoid emissary vein
v. emissaria mastoidea
Condylar emissary vein
v. emissaria condylaris
Superior and inferiorophthalmic veins
vv. ophthalmicae superior et inferior
Facial vein
v. facialis
Labyrinthine veins
vv. labyrinthi
Pharyngeal veins
vv. pharyngeales
Pharyngeal plexus
plexus pharyngeus
Lingual vein
v. lingualis
Dorsal lingual veins
vv. dorsales linguae
Deep lingual vein
v. profunda linguae
Sublingual vein
v. sublingualis
Superior thyroid vein
v. thyroidea superior
Superior laryngeal vein
v. laryngea superior
Sternocleidomastoid vein
v. sternocleidomastoidea
Middle thyroid veins
v. thyroidea media
Facial vein
v. facialis
Angular vein
v. angularis
Supra-orbital vein
v. supraorbitalis
Veins of the superiorand inferior eyelids
vv. palpebrales superiores et inferiores
External nasal veins
vv. nasales externae
Superior and inferior labial veins
vv. labiales superior et inferior
External palatine vein
v. palatina externa
Submental vein
v. submentalis
Parotid veins
vv. parotidei
Deep facial vein
v. profunda faciei
Retromandibular vein
v. retromandibularis
Anterior auricular veins
vv. auriculares anteriores
Veins of thetemporomandibular joint
vv. articularistemporomandibularis
Veins of the pterygoidplexus
vv. plexuspterygoidei
Middle meningeal veins
vv. meningeale mediale
Parotid veins
vv. parotideae
Vein of the middle ear
vv. tympanicae
Superficial temporal vein
v. temporalis superficialis
Middle temporal vein
v. temporalis media
Deep temporal vein
v. temporalis profunda
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