Abnormal Formation of External Jugular Vein and its Repercussions

J Craniofac Surg. 2020 Jun;31(4):e354-e355. doi: 10.1097/SCS.0000000000006293.


External jugular vein is formed by joining of posterior division of retromandibular vein and posterior auricular vein and common facial vein drain into internal jugular vein.Variations are not uncommon and these are more often observed in veins than in arteries. Aim of the study is to report the prevalence of unique variation of formation of external jugular vein.Head and neck of 6 cadavers (12 sides) fixed in 10% formalin were dissected in the department of anatomy AIIMS Rishikesh for the variant formation of external jugular vein.Abnormal formation of external jugular vein was detected in 1 cadaver on left side. The mean age of the cadavers was 70 years. The retromandibular vein divided into anterior and posterior divisions 2.5 cm below the angle of mandible. The facial, after travelling for 6 cm below the mandible, along with anterior and posterior divisions abnormally joined to form the external jugular vein. This is unique and rare finding.External jugular vein is used for assessment of venous pressure in right atrium and for catheterization. The variation may give false value of pressure due to facial vein draining into it, also create difficulty in catheterization. In addition to this, these veins are also used for various other procedures like carotid endarterectomy and for oral reconstruction surgeries. Thus facial vein and external jugular vein variations are of paramount importance to head and neck surgeons, anatomists and anesthetist.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cadaver
  • Drainage
  • Face / blood supply
  • Head / blood supply
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / surgery*
  • Neck / surgery
  • Subclavian Vein / surgery*