External jugular vein

Andrew Murphy and Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The external jugular vein (EJV) drains the head, face and part of the pectoral region.

Gross anatomy

Origin and course

The posterior division of the retromandibular vein and posterior auricular vein unite to form the external jugular vein at the angle of the mandible.

It courses inferiorly in the subcutaneous anterolateral neck, deep to platysma but superficial to sternocleidomastoid, before piercing the deep cervical fascia, normally posterior to the clavicular head of the sternocleidomastoid, to drain into the subclavian vein.


A handy mnemonic to recall these is PAST.

Anatomy: Head and neck
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Article information

rID: 24266
Section: Anatomy
Tag: cases, refs
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • External jugular vein (EJV)
  • External jugular veins

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: head and neck veins
    Drag here to reorder.
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