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. They merge to form the superior vena cava posterior to the junction of the first costal cartilage with the manubrium sternum.

They receive drainage from:

  • Left and right internal thoracic veins (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


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