The left and right brachiocephalic veins (or innominate veins) in the upper chest are formed by the union of each corresponding internal jugular vein and subclavian vein. This is at the level of the sternoclavicular joint. The left brachiocephalic vein is usually longer than the right.
The thyroid gland and its relations. (Label for "Right innom. vein" and "Left innom. vein" visible at bottom center.)
The arch of the aorta, and its branches. (Right innom. vein labeled at upper right; left innominate vein labeled at center top.)
|Drains to||Superior vena cava|
The brachiocephalic veins are the major veins returning blood to the superior vena cava.
The brachiocephalic vein is formed by the confluence of the subclavian and internal jugular veins. In addition it receives drainage from:
- Left and right internal thoracic vein (Also called internal mammary veins): drain into the inferior border of their corresponding vein
- Left and right inferior thyroid veins: drain into the superior aspect of their corresponding veins near the confluence
- Left superior intercostal vein: drains into the left brachiocephalic vein
The left brachiocephalic vein forms from the anastomosis formed between the left and right anterior cardinal veins when the caudal portion of the left anterior cardinal vein degenerates.