Skip to main content

Unfortunately we don't fully support your browser. If you have the option to, please upgrade to a newer version or use Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, or Safari 14 or newer. If you are unable to, and need support, please send us your feedback.

Publish with us
Supreme Intercostal Vein
Cardiovascular System

Supreme Intercostal Vein

Vena intercostalis suprema

Read more

Quick Facts

Origin: First intercostal space.

Course: Posteriorly within the intercostal space.

Tributaries: Dorsal branch and intervertebral veins.

Drainage: Intercostal space, back, and skin.

Complete Anatomy
The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform
Try it for Free


The supreme intercostal vein is formed within the first intercostal space and is accompanied by the first posterior intercostal artery and the anterior rami of the first thoracic nerve. The vein is usually found superiorly in this arrangement.


The supreme intercostal vein courses through the first intercostal space. It ascends across the neck of the first rib then arches forward over the apex of the lung to reach its corresponding brachiocephalic vein on the right or left. It may drain into the vertebral vein.


The supreme intercostal vein follows the branches of the posterior intercostal arteries, thus draining the same territory the artery supplies. They receive dorsal tributaries accompanying the dorsal branches of the posterior intercostal arteries and the intervertebral veins which accompany the spinal nerves. The supreme intercostal vein also forms an anastomosis with the anterior intercostal vein of the first intercostal space.

Structures Drained

The supreme intercostal vein drains the muscles of the intercostal space, muscle of the back, vertebral column, and overlying skin.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Intercostal Veins

ScienceDirect image

The intercostal musculature contains the intercostal nerve, artery, and vein as they pass between the internal intercostal membrane and the pleura and between the internal and innermost intercostal muscles.

Explore on ScienceDirectopens in new tab/window

Complete Anatomy

The world's most advanced 3D anatomy platform

Complete Anatomy