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Anterior Jugular Vein
Cardiovascular System

Anterior Jugular Vein

Vena jugularis anterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Under the chin.

Course: Descends superficially to drain into the external jugular vein.

Tributaries: None.

Drainage: Anterior neck.

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The anterior jugular vein is the smallest of the jugular veins and its size is inversely proportional to that of the external jugular vein. It originates from the convergence of superficial veins under the mandible.


The anterior jugular vein travels inferiorly from its point of origin, within the subcutaneous tissue or deep to the superficial layer of the deep cervical fascia, between the anterior edge of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and the anterior median line. When the anterior jugular vein arrives at the root of the neck, it courses laterally, deep to the sternocleidomastoid muscle, but superficial to the infrahyoid muscles. It terminates by either opening into the terminal aspect of the external jugular vein or directly into the subclavian vein.


There are no named tributaries; however, the anterior jugular vein may receive the laryngeal veins and infrequently, a small thyroid vein (Standring, 2016).

The left and right anterior jugular veins are devoid of valves and form the large transverse jugular venous arch in the suprasternal space by merging at the midlines, just superior to the manubrium of the sternum. The jugular venous arch receives the inferior thyroid vein tributaries (Standring, 2016; Moore, Dalley and Agur, 2013).

Structures Drained

The anterior jugular vein drains blood from the anterior part of the neck.


Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice., 41st edition. Elsevier Limited.

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Anterior Jugular Vein

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The anterior jugular veins are formed from a collection of veins lying near the apex of the anterior triangle.

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