The vertebral vein (Latin: vena vertebralis) is a venous blood vessel that is formed by numerous small tributaries arising from the internal vertebral plexuses.
The vertebral vein arises from the external venous plexus at the level of the posterior arch of the atlas (C1). The vein accompanies the vertebral artery, forming a plexus around it. Further, the vertebral vein passes downward through the transverse foramina of the 1st to 7th cervical vertebrae (C1 - C7) and drains into the brachiocephalic vein.
On its course, the vertebral vein receives several tributaries, including:
- occipital vein,
- internal vertebral plexus,
- external vertebral plexus,
- veins of prevertebral muscles.
The vertebral vein collects venous blood from the upper deep muscles of the back.