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Common Iliac Vein
Cardiovascular System

Common Iliac Vein

Vena iliaca communis

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Quick Facts

Origin: Union of internal and external iliac veins.

Course: Ascends obliquely to continue as the inferior vena cava at the fifth lumbar vertebra.

Tributaries: Median sacral, ascending lumbar, iliolumbar, internal iliac, and external iliac veins.

Drainage: Pelvic walls, pelvic viscera, and lower limb.

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The common iliac veins are formed from the union of the internal and external iliac vein, anterior to the sacroiliac joint.


The right common iliac vein is much shorter and more vertical than the left common iliac vein. It ascends posteriorly then laterally to the common iliac artery. The left common iliac vein ascends medially then posteriorly to the artery.


Both the left and right common iliac veins receive the iliolumbar and ascending lumbar veins. The median sacral vein drains into the left common iliac vein.

Structures Drained

The common iliac veins drain blood from the pelvic viscera, pelvic walls, and lower limbs.

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Common Iliac Vein

ScienceDirect image

The left common iliac vein travels anterior to the sacrum and medial to the aortic bifurcation and joins the right common iliac vein to form the vena cava under the right common iliac artery.

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