Obturator veins are located in the pelvis, near the back of the thigh. They are a collection point for veins that drain blood from the lower back as well as the hips. They, in turn, drain into the internal iliac vein, which is located deep within the pelvis and extends to the lower abdomen.
These veins come into the pelvis through the obturator canal, a space between the pelvis and the thigh that allows both blood vessels and nerves to pass through the joint.
In some humans the veins form a single vessel and in others they are bifurcated, or split into a larger and smaller branch. These veins also connect to the pubic veins, which drain blood from the urinary and reproductive tracts.
These veins are susceptible to injury during abdominal surgery, especially during the repair of femoral hernias. Femoral hernias occur when contents of the abdomen push through a weak point in the muscle wall and create a bulge in the upper thigh, near the groin.