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Dorsal veins of penis

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Arteries and veins of the male pelvis.
Dorsal veins of penis (Venae dorsalis penis)

The majority of venous drainage from the penis is by two main vessels, the superficial and deep dorsal veins of penis. Both veins are typically located in the midline on the dorsal aspect of the penis and travel along the length of the penile shaft.

The main function of the dorsal veins of penis is to drain blood from the penile shaft skin, prepuce, glans, corpus spongiosum and the distal two-thirds of the penis. In addition, the drainage from the proximal third (root) of the penis is facilitated by the crural and deep cavernosal veins.

This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the dorsal veins of penis.

Key facts about the dorsal veins of penis
Superficial dorsal vein Tributaries: Dorsolateral superficial veins
Drains to: Superficial external pudendal vein
Drainage area: Skin and subcutaneous tissue of penis

Deep dorsal vein Tributaries: Circumflex veins, emissary veins
Drains to: Prostatic venous plexus
Drainage area: Glans penis, corpus spongiosum, corpora cavernosa

  1. Superficial dorsal vein of the penis
  2. Deep dorsal vein of the penis 
  3. Sources
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Superficial dorsal vein of the penis

The superficial dorsal vein of penis is located within the superficial dartos fascia on the dorsal surface of the penis. It is formed by the merger of smaller superficial veins on the dorsolateral aspect of the penis. The superficial dorsal vein drains blood from the skin and subcutaneous tissue of the penile shaft and prepuce (foreskin) into the superficial external pudendal vein (a tributary of the great saphenous vein).

Test your knowledge about the male reproductive system with this interactive quiz in multiple difficulty modes.

Deep dorsal vein of the penis 

The deep dorsal vein of penis belongs to the intermediate drainage system of the penis, along with the circumflex veins. The deep dorsal vein lies just below the deep penile (Buck’s) fascia on the dorsal surface of the penis. It runs along the midline groove between the dorsal surface of the corpora cavernosa, accompanied on each side by the dorsal arteries of penis. The vein courses proximally, passing between the fibers of the suspensory ligament at the junction of the root and body of penis. The deep dorsal vein then arches below the pubic symphysis and through an opening between the inferior pubic ligament and the transverse perineal ligament (anterior thickening of the perineal membrane) to enter the pelvis. The vein terminates by emptying into a network of veins surrounding the prostate gland called the prostatic venous plexus.

The deep dorsal vein of the penis drains venous blood from the glans penis, corpus spongiosum and corpora cavernosa. Along its course within the penile shaft, the deep dorsal vein receives the circumflex veins and emissary veins. The circumflex veins are limited to the distal two-thirds of the penis. They arise from the corpus spongiosum, run around the lateral aspects of the corpora cavernosa and then empty into the deep dorsal vein at right angles. The emissary veins on the other hand arise from subtunical capillary plexus that drain the cavernous sinuses. These veins traverse the tunica albuginea of the corpora cavernosa and empty into either the circumflex veins or the deep dorsal vein.

To learn more about the blood vessels of the male pelvis, explore our articles, quizzes, video tutorials and labeled diagrams.

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