Occipital vein

The occipital vein is a venous blood vessel of the head that arises from a superficially located network of veins that form a venous plexus and is found on the posterior aspect of the scalp. It is positioned superficial to the occipital fascia and the occipital artery. Overall, the occipital vein follows the course of the occipital artery.

The occipital vein forms several anastomoses. Laterally, it connects with the parietal branch of the superficial temporal vein. Within the suboccipital triangle, it joins with the deep cervical vein and plexus that later forms the vertebral vein

The occipital vein also connects with the distal aspect of the superior sagittal sinus, the transverse sinus or the intracranial confluence of the sinuses via the occipital emissary vein

Note: The emissary veins are valveless blood vessels that connect the extracranial blood vessels to the intracranial dural sinuses and diploic veins. They vary significantly in distribution among people. The occipital emissary vein is positioned close to the midline of the occipital bone. It emerges from the cranial cavity proximal to the foramen magnum.

The occipital vein drains into either the internal jugular vein (Read more!) or the posterior auricular vein (Read more!). However, it usually ends by joining the inferior aspect of the posterior auricular vein. From the posterior auricular vein, the venous blood is further carried to the external jugular vein (Read more!).

To sum up, the occipital vein collects venous blood from the superficial muscles and skin of the occipital region.