Anatomy of the Superficial Venous Structures of the Neck: A Cadaveric Study to Guide Superficial Injections

Dermatol Surg. 2019 Feb;45(2):203-209. doi: 10.1097/DSS.0000000000001655.


Background: Minimally invasive aesthetic procedures of the neck are becoming more popular. However, anatomical studies on the venous structures of the neck in relation to these procedures are lacking.

Objective: The aims of this study were to identify the locations and communication patterns of the anterior jugular vein and external jugular vein (AJV and EJV) and the communicating vein (CV) based on superficial anatomical landmarks and to determine dangerous areas for dermal filler injections into the neck.

Materials and methods: Thirty sides of the neck from Korean adult cadavers were dissected for this study.

Results: Four anatomical variants were identified. In Type Ia, the CV ran along the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle (SCM) (33.4%); in Type Ib, a single vein was observed connecting the CV and the EJV at the level of laryngeal prominence (23.3%); in Type Ic, the CV proceeded separately from the medial side of the anterior border of the SCM (13.3%); and in Type II, the CV was absent while the EJV and AJV were observed (30%).

Conclusion: Given the 4 anatomical variants identified in this study, the authors recommend exerting caution when performing dermal filler injections approximately 10, 30, and 60 mm lateral to the midsagittal line to avoid iatrogenic side effects.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anatomic Landmarks
  • Anatomic Variation
  • Cadaver
  • Dermal Fillers / administration & dosage*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Jugular Veins / anatomy & histology
  • Male
  • Neck / blood supply*
  • Republic of Korea
  • Veins / anatomy & histology*


  • Dermal Fillers