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Common iliac vein

Dr Owen Kang et al.

The common iliac vein, corresponding with the common iliac artery, drains venous blood from the pelvis, lower limbs and their associated structures.

  • location: pelvis, anterior to the sacroiliac joint
  • origin and termination: union of internal and external iliac veins; into the inferior vena cava
  • tributaries: iliolumbar and lateral sacral veins
  • relations: common iliac arteries, lumbosacral plexus, psoas major muscle and vertebral column

It originates anterior to the sacroiliac joint, from the union of the internal and external iliac veins.

It courses superiorly and obliquely to unite with the contralateral vein, forming the inferior vena cava at the level of the L5 vertebral body.

Bilaterally, the veins receive the iliolumbar and lateral sacral veins which drain the iliopsoas muscle, L4 and L5 vertebrae and the obturator vein from the medial compartment of the thigh. The left common iliac vein additionally receives the median sacral vein.

Left common iliac vein

  • anteriorly: attachment of the sigmoid mesocolon, superior rectal vessels
  • laterally: common iliac artery (later anteriorly, further up its course)

Right common iliac vein

  • anteriorly: common iliac artery (later medially, further up its course)
  • posteriorly: right obturator nerve
  • the left common iliac vein occasionally receives the left renal vein
Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic

Article information

rID: 49942
System: Vascular
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Vena iliaca communis

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