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Internal Jugular Vein
Cardiovascular System

Internal Jugular Vein

Vena jugularis interna

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Quick Facts

Origin: Union of the inferior petrosal and sigmoid sinuses.

Course: Descends in the carotid sheath

Tributaries: Superior and middle thyroid, lingual, common facial, sternocleidomastoid, pharyngeal, ascending pharyngeal, and occipital veins.

Drainage: Skull, brain, superficial face, and most of the neck.

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Origin

The internal jugular vein is formed by the union of the sigmoid and inferior petrosal venous sinuses. Here, the internal jugular vein is dilated as the superior bulb lying in the posterior part of the tympanic floor.

Course

The internal jugular vein passes through the jugular foramen and accompanies the internal carotid artery and vagus nerve within the carotid sheath. It lies deep to and is separated from the external carotid artery by the styloglossus and stylopharyngeus muscles and glossopharyngeal nerve.

The internal jugular vein continues to descend until it reaches the subclavian vein just behind the sternal end of the clavicle. Here, they join to form the brachiocephalic vein. Just like at its origin, near its termination, the internal jugular vein has a dilation called the inferior bulb.

Tributaries

The internal jugular vein receives the superior and middle thyroid, lingual, common facial, sternocleidomastoid, pharyngeal, ascending pharyngeal, and occipital veins. At its junction with the subclavian vein, it usually receives the thoracic duct on the left, or the right lymphatic duct on the right-hand side.

Structures Drained

The internal jugular vein is the major venous vessel for the skull, brain, superficial face, and the neck.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Jugular venous pulse

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Internal Jugular Vein

ScienceDirect image

Level II is comprised of nodes surrounding the upper one-third of the internal jugular vein extending from the skull base to the level of the inferior border of the hyoid bone.

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Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy