Internal jugular vein

The internal jugular vein is a blood vessel that arises from the junction of two intracranial venous sinuses - the inferior petrosal sinus and the sigmoid sinus.

The internal jugular vein begins at the cranial base in the jugular foramen. Further, the internal jugular vein passes inferiorly within the carotid sheath situated anterolateral to the carotid artery (the common carotid artery that divides into two branches within the sheath).

At the level of the sternoclavicular joint, the internal jugular vein unites with the subclavian vein to form the brachiocephalic vein.

On its course, the internal jugular vein receives the following tributaries:

  • Inferior petrosal sinus
  • Pharyngeal vein
  • Common facial vein
  • Lingual vein
  • Superior thyroid vein
  • Middle thyroid vein
  • Occipital vein
  • Sternocleidomastoid vein
  • Meningeal vein
  • Vein of cochlear duct


The internal jugular vein collects venous blood from the brain, skull, and superficial parts of the face and neck.