3.3.15 Veins of the abdominal region
The inferior epigastric supplies the lower part of the abdominal wall. We’ll see where it goes in a minute, but first we’ll add the principal veins of the abdominal region to the picture. We’ll start down at the inguinal ligament.
Here’s the femoral vein, lying medial to the femoral artery as it passes beneath the inguinal ligament. Above the ligament it’s called the external iliac vein.
The external iliac is joined by the internal iliac to form the common iliac vein. The two common iliacs join just to the right of the aortic bifurcation, to form the inferior vena cava. The right common iliac artery passes in front of the left common iliac vein.
The inferior vena cava runs just to the right of the mid-line. It lies on the vertebral bodies from L4 to T12, then on the right crus of the diaphragm. It passes through the diaphragm here, to enter the right atrium as we saw in the last section.
The two large renal veins join the inferior vena cave at the level of L2. This is the left testicular vein. The right one has been removed.
There aren’t any veins that directly correspond to the celiac trunk and the mesenteric arteries. The blood that goes out through those arteries comes back to the liver by way of the portal vein, as we’ll see in Volume Five of this atlas. The blood from the liver then returns to the main circulation through these large hepatic veins. The hepatic veins are very short. Their number varies: here there are three. They enter the vena cava just below the diaphragm.