Anatomical variations of the internal jugular veins and their relationship to the carotid arteries: a CT evaluation

C L Lim, S N Keshava, M Lea
Australasian Radiology 2006, 50 (4): 314-8
The right internal jugular vein (IJV) is a common vessel to obtain venous access. It is important to have a clear understanding of the anatomy of the IJV and its relationship to the common carotid arteries (CCA) to avoid inadvertent arterial puncture. This study aims to objectively evaluate the variations in the anatomy of IJV and its relation to the CCA. A total of 176 right and left IJV were retrospectively evaluated using CT imaging with the CentraRad Diagnostic Viewer Version 4.09.0190 (CDN Telemedicine Solutions, Wollongong, Australia). The data were recorded and analysed. The right IJV (80.5%) was more often larger than the left IJV. With reference to the CCA, 85.2% of the IJV were found in the lateral position, 12.5% anteriorly, 1.1% medially and 1.1% posteriorly. Seven IJV were found to be hypoplastic, and in one case this was seen bilaterally in both the right and left IJV. The maximum depth of IJV from the skin was 27.9 mm. More than half (69.5%) of the IJV were less than 1 mm from the carotids. Computed tomography is an excellent method to delineate the anatomy of IJV. Variations in the anatomy of the IJV and their correlation to the CCA are common.

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