Anterior jugular vein

Last revised by Ashesh Ishwarlal Ranchod on 10 Jul 2023

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 (in the suprasternal space), is connected to the contralateral anterior jugular vein by the jugular (venous) arch.


It terminates by passing deep to the clavicular head of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, to drain into the external jugular vein.


The vein often receives tributaries from:

  • laryngeal veins
  • small thyroid veins

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

Variant anatomy

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Cases and figures

  • Case 1: unpaired anterior jugular vein with left submandibular abscess
    Drag here to reorder.