Pancreaticoduodenal veins

Last revised by Andrew Murphy on 30 Jun 2020

The pancreaticoduodenal veins accompany their corresponding arteries and act to drain the head of the pancreas and duodenum.

Gross anatomy

There are four small pancreaticoduodenal veins:

  • posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein
  • anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein
  • posterior inferior pancreaticoduodenal vein
  • anterior inferior pancreaticoduodenal vein

They drain the head of the pancreas and the second and third parts of the duodenum.


The pancreaticoduodenal veins lie on the surface of the pancreas and form anterior and posterior arcades via anastomoses between the inferior and superior veins. Duodenal branches extend inferiorly and to the right of the head of the pancreas. The superior veins are generally larger than the inferior veins and drain a greater portion of the pancreatic head 1.


The posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein runs through the posterior pancreaticoduodenal sulcus and drains into the right posterior wall of the portal vein 2.

The anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal vein runs a horizontal course across the anterior aspect of the pancreatic head before draining into the gastrocolic trunk or the right gastroepiploic vein 1. Both of these subsequently drain into the superior mesenteric vein.   

The anterior and posterior inferior pancreaticoduodenal veins drain a smaller portion of the pancreatic head, often only the uncinate process. They pass horizontally to the left and drain into the first jejunal vein or directly into the superior mesenteric vein at the caudal margin of the pancreas 3.

Related pathology

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads

Updating… Please wait.

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

 Thank you for updating your details.