Anterior jugular vein

Dr Henry Knipe et al.

The anterior jugular vein is a paired tributary of the external jugular vein.

Gross anatomy


It arises beneath the chin in the region of the hyoid bone or suprahyoid neck.

Origin and course

The anterior jugular vein has its origin as the confluence of several small superficial submandibular veins. It descends near the midline, medial to the anterior border of the sternocleidomastoid muscle and in its inferior path, superior to the sternum, is connected to the contralateral anterior jugular vein by the jugular (venous) arch.


It terminates by passing deep to sternocleidomastoid muscle to drain into the external jugular vein.


The vein often receives tributaries from:

  • the laryngeal veins
  • small thyroid vein

It lies superficial to the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and superficial to the infrahyoid (strap) muscles.

Variant anatomy

  • it may drain into the subclavian vein directly
Head and neck anatomy
Share article

Article information

rID: 28494
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Anterior jugular vein (AJV)

Updating… Please wait.

Alert accept

Error Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

Alert accept Thank you for updating your details.