Internal iliac vein

Last revised by Assoc Prof Craig Hacking on 15 Sep 2021

The internal iliac vein (IIV) represents the union of veins and venous plexuses draining the pelvic viscera, pelvic wall, external genitalia, perineum, buttocks, and medial thigh.  

Gross anatomy

Origin

Above the greater sciatic notch as a confluence of the gluteal veins and the pelvic tributaries described below.

Course and termination

Ascends out of pelvis, posterior to the internal iliac artery along the medial surface of psoas major to join the ipsilateral external iliac vein at pelvic brim anterior to the sacroiliac joint to become the common iliac vein.

Tributaries
  • internal pudendal vein
  • superior and inferior gluteal veins
  • obturator vein
  • lateral sacral vein
  • vesical venous plexus
  • prostatic venous plexus
  • uterine venous plexus
  • vaginal venous plexus
  • rectal venous plexus
Relations

Related pathology

  • the internal iliac vein may be injured in trauma of the sacrum, lumbar spine or pelvis.
  • it is thought that thromboemboli from disease of the pelvic viscera or metastatic disease can spread superiorly as far as the superior vena cava via the communication between the lateral sacral veins and the vertebral venous plexuses1.

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Cases and figures

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