Internal iliac vein
The internal iliac vein, also known as the hypogastric vein, is a short vessel found in the pelvis. It arises from several smaller veins just above the greater sciatic foramen. The internal iliac vein has a short superior course over the iliacus muscle, after which it merges with the external iliac vein, forming the common iliac vein.
The main function of the internal iliac vein is to convey the blood from the pelvic viscera into the common iliac vein. Moreover, in the case of the external iliac vein obstruction, it provides an alternative route for the venous return of the lower extremity.
|Origin||Above the greater sciatic notch from many pelvic and extrapelvic tributaries|
|Tributaries||Superior gluteal, inferior gluteal, internal pudendal, obturator, middle rectal, vesical, uterine and vaginal veins|
|Drains to||Common iliac vein|
|Drainage area||Pelvic organs and pelvic wall, perineum and external genitalia, gluteal region and medial region of the thigh|
This article will discuss the anatomy and function of the internal iliac vein.
Anatomy and course
The internal iliac vein arises superiorly to the greater sciatic foramen. It is formed by the coalescence of several extrapelvic and pelvic veins;
- Its extrapelvic tributaries are the superior gluteal, inferior gluteal, internal pudendal and obturator veins.
- Its pelvic tributaries are the middle rectal, vesical, uterine and vaginal veins.
The vein takes a short superior course, ascending the pelvic wall posteromedial to the internal iliac artery. Along its course, the anterolateral surface of the internal iliac vein is covered by the parietal peritoneum. At the level of the pelvic brim and anteriorly to the sacroiliac joint, it joins the external iliac vein and forms the common iliac vein.
The internal iliac vein drains the blood from the pelvic organs and pelvic wall, perineum and external genitalia, gluteal region and medial region of the thigh.