What Is the Function of the Internal Jugular Vein?

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the internal jugular veins, which are located in the neck, are responsible for draining the blood from the brain, face and neck. The internal jugulars unite with the subclavian veins to form the brachiocephalic veins for this purpose. Once the blood travels away from these areas, the internal jugulars help it return to the heart and lungs to become oxygenated.

Anatomically speaking, the interior jugular veins are located along both sides of the neck and rest up against the thyroid gland and trachea. Most of the time, the left vein appears thinner than the right vein, and there are two dilated spots on each vein. These dilated spots are called the superior bulb and the inferior bulb. Because the interior jugulars are easier to access and larger than other jugular veins, they are often used to place venous lines.

While the interior jugulars are easy to get to when medical care is needed, their location leaves them susceptible to trauma and damage. With no bones or cartilage to protect them, these veins can easily become ruptured or torn during a traumatic event. In cases of severe blood loss, shock and death can occur within a matter of minutes.