Venous drainage of Face : “W” shaped arrangement

When we look from lateral side, the veins on each side form a “W” shaped arrangement.

Each corner of the “W” is prolonged upward into the scalp, and downward into the neck. Remember the 3 verticla stems of letter “W”:

  • 1st stem (in face): Facial vein
  • 2nd stem (behind mandible, in front of ear): Retromandibular vein
  • 3rd stem (behind ear): Posterior auricular vein

The two diagonal stems branching from the middle stem represents anterior and posterior division of retromandibular vein.

venous draianage of face schematicSupraorbital vein + Supratrochlear vein = Facial vein

Superficial temporal vein + Maxillary vein = Retromandibular vein

Posterior auricular vein + Posterior division of retromandibular vein = External jugular vein (EJV)

Facial vein + Anterior division of retromandibular vein = Common facial vein (drains in Internal Jugular Vein – IJV)

Deep connection of Facial vein

  1. Facial vein drains pterygoid plexus (pterygoid venous plexus drains deep veins) via deep facial vein.
  2. Pterygoid plexus has connection with cavernous sinus through the emissary veins.

How does facial vein communicate with the cavernous sinus ?

Through 3 deep connections:

  1. Superior ophthalmic vein
  2. Inferior ophthalmic vein
  3. Pterygoid plexus

Always remember!!! Facial veins are valveless.

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