Internal iliac vein

The internal iliac vein (hypogastric vein) begins near the upper part of the greater sciatic foramen, passes upward behind and slightly medial to the internal iliac artery and, at the brim of the pelvis, joins with the external iliac vein to form the common iliac vein.

Internal iliac vein
The veins of the right half of the male pelvis.
The iliac veins. (Int. iliac visible at center.)
Drains toCommon iliac vein
ArteryInternal iliac artery
LatinVena iliaca interna,
vena hypogastrica
Anatomical terminology


Several veins unite above the greater sciatic foramen to form the internal iliac vein. It does not have the predictable branches of the internal iliac artery but its tributaries drain the same regions.[1] The internal iliac vein emerges from above the level of the greater sciatic notch, running backwards, upwards and towards the midline to join the external iliac vein in forming the common iliac vein in front of the sacroiliac joint. It is wide and 3 cm long.[2]


Originating outside the pelvis, its tributaries are the gluteal, internal pudendal and obturator veins. Running from the anterior surface of the sacrum are the lateral sacral veins. Coming from the pelvic plexuses and appropriate to gender are the middle rectal, vesical, prostatic, uterine and vaginal veins.[1][2]

superior gluteal veins
inferior gluteal veins
internal pudendal veins
obturator veins
have their origins outside the pelvis;
lateral sacral veinslie in front of the sacrum
middle hemorrhoidal vein
vesical vein
uterine vein
vaginal veins
originate in venous plexuses connected with the pelvic viscera.

Clinical significance

If thrombosis disrupts blood flow in the external iliac systems, the internal iliac tributaries offer a major route of venous return from the femoral system. Damage to internal iliac vein tributaries during surgery can seriously compromise venous drainage and cause swelling of one or both legs.[1]

Additional images


  1. Delancey, John O.L. (2016). "73, True pelvis, pelvic floor and perineum". In Standring, Susan (ed.). Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice (41st ed.). Elsevier. pp. 1221–1236. ISBN 978-0-7020-6851-5.
  2. Sinnatamby, Chummy S. (2011). "5". Last's Anatomy: Regional and Applied (12th ed.). Great Britain: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier. p. 309. ISBN 0-7020-4839-9. Retrieved March 25, 2018.

This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 673 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

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