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April 1960

External Jugular Phlebectasia

Author Affiliations

Los Angeles
Surgical Resident (Dr. Lipshutz), and Senior Attending Surgeon and Chief of Staff (Dr. Rabwin), Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

AMA Arch Surg. 1960;80(4):571-573. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1960.01290210039007

The word phlebectasia is used to describe an abnormal saccular or fusiform dilatation of a vein. It differs from the term varix which strictly defined implies simple tortuosity. The internal jugular system is quite constant in its formation, so developmental anomalies such as phlebectasia are rare.1 However, variations may often occur in the external jugular system and its branches.

History  The literature of the past century contains more descriptions of dilated cervical veins than the recent surgical literature. When diphtheria was a common disease venous anomalies that complicated tracheotomy were of great interest, as described by Demarquay,2 in 1844. Notta7 also described a venous enlargement seen at postmortem examination of a woman who died of valvular heart disease. Foucher,3 in 1856, stated that while doing a tracheotomy he was troubled with an anterior jugular vein the size of his little finger. Gruber,4 in 1867, described

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