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Veins of the vertebral column

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Describe the venous drainage pattern of an individual vertebra. 
  2. Identify the main collecting veins of each vertebral region.

Watch video

The vertebral column is drained by four venous plexuses: the anterior external, anterior internal, posterior internal and posterior external vertebral venous plexuses. These plexuses communicate with each other through the intervertebral foramina and drain the external and internal regions of each vertebra.

Intervertebral veins drain the vertebral venous plexuses and travel through the intervertebral foramina to empty into the vertebral veins (cervical), the posterior intercostal veins (thoracic), the lumbar veins and the sacral veins.

Find out more about the veins of the vertebral column by watching the video below.

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That was a lot of veins to remember! Time to consolidate all of that knowledge with a quiz.

For a broader range of topics try out the fully customizable quiz on the anatomy of the vertebral column. You can even save your selections, so that you can quiz yourself later.

Browse atlas

Take a closer look at the veins of the vertebral column in the gallery below.


Key points about the veins of the vertebral column
Collecting veins by region Cervical: Vertebral veins
Thoracic: Intercostal veins
Lumbar: Lumbar veins -> Ascending lumbar veins
Sacrum: Sacral veins
Veins of isolated vertebra Anterior and posterior external vertebral venous plexuses, anterior and posterior internal vertebral venous plexuses, basivertebral veins, intervertebral veins

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