Venous drainage from the esophagus flows into the azygous and hemiazygous veins above the diaphragm and into the portal vein below the diaphragm via the left and right gastric veins. The azygous vein arching over the right hilar structures is shown (visualized during an open right thoracotomy). Below the takeoff of the recurrent laryngeal nerves, the vagi divide into multiple branches forming an esophageal plexus. The branches reunite above the esophagogastric junction, with components of the left vagus constituting most of the anterior vagus and right fibers constituting the posterior trunk. The plexus branches below the recurrent laryngeal nerves are taken with the esophagus.