External iliac vein

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 15 Sep 2021

The external iliac vein (EIV) is located along the pelvic brim between the inguinal ligament and the sacroiliac joint

Gross anatomy


The external iliac vein is considered to begin posterior to the inguinal ligament within the lacuna vasorum 1, as a continuation of the femoral vein. It is a valveless vein, in most people 3, and therefore may be used as a central vein for the purposes of measuring right atrial pressures.


The external iliac vein unites with the internal iliac vein to form the common iliac vein anterior to the sacroiliac joint 1,2


Bilaterally, the external iliac veins receive the inferior epigastric and deep circumflex iliac veins 1,2.


The left external iliac vein is medial to left external iliac artery throughout course. On the right, the vein begins medially and becomes posterior to the external iliac artery proximally.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: venous development (Gray's illustrations)
    Drag here to reorder.