Looking to lead a stronger, healthier life?
Sign up for our Wellness Wire newsletter for all sorts of nutrition, fitness, and wellness wisdom.

Now we’re in this together.
Thanks for subscribing and having us along on your health and wellness journey.

See all Healthline's newsletters »

Inferior mesenteric vein

As a blood vessel, the inferior mesenteric vein (IMV) drains blood away from the descending colon, rectum, and sigmoid, which are all parts of the large intestine.

The IMV branches off the portal vein, which also branches into the superior mesenteric vein. The IMV also has its own branches. These include the sigmoid vein, which drains the sigmoid, and the left colic vein, which drains the descending colon.

As a whole, the inferior mesenteric vein drains away deoxygenated blood from the colon, where it will eventually be returned to the right ventricle and atrium in the heart, as well as the pulmonary veins in the lungs.

The descending colon is essential during the final phase of digestion. Here, any remaining substances are broken down and water is removed. The colon then processes the remaining waste products into feces, which is then moved through the sigmoid and downward toward the rectum. For this process, an ongoing supply of blood is necessary.

The IMV should not be confused with the inferior mesenteric artery, which delivers oxygen-rich blood to specific areas of the large intestine.

Written and medically reviewed by the Healthline Editorial Team
Co-developed by:

In Depth: Inferior mesenteric vein

Debugging Tools

Level: 5
Frame: 2
Toggle Hotspot
VP Data Tool
HexTable json from Steve
Steve's ajax layer update call:
[still on original layer]

Ad values:

adModel.dfpAdSite: hn.us.hl.bm.x.x.x
adParams['k1']: otherdigestiveproblems,inferior_mesenteric_vein,8433010

More on BodyMaps

Take a Video Tour

Learn how to rotate, look inside and explore the human body. Take the tour

BodyMaps Feedback

How do you like BodyMaps? How can we improve it? Tell us what you think