Ascending lumbar vein

Last revised by Yoshi Yu on 7 Apr 2023

The ascending lumbar veins are paired vertically-oriented veins of the posterior abdominal wall. They can be considered the abdominal counterpart of the azygos and hemiazygos veins 1.


  • location: near the midline, lateral to the lumbar vertebral bodies

  • origin: from the ipsilateral common iliac or iliolumbar veins

  • course: ascends vertically in the posterior abdominal wall, communicating with the lumbar veins as it crosses them. The ascending lumbar vein ascends posterior to the psoas major muscle and anterior to the lumbar transverse processes.

  • tributaries and drainage: lumbar veins and internal vertebral plexus

  • termination: at approximately the T12-L2 vertebral levels, the lumbar veins join the ipsilateral subcostal vein to become:

    • azygos vein on the right

    • hemiazygos vein on the left

  • relations: psoas major muscle anteriorly, lumbar transverse processes posteriorly

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