Leg Vein Terminology

vein_pic_1Superficial Vein
A vein in the lower part of the body above the deep fascia that covers the muscles of the leg.

Femoral Leg Vein
A vein that is deep in the leg that carries blood back to the heart.

Greater Saphenous Vein
A long vein that can be seen in front of the anklebone. This vein travels along the inside of the leg and thigh where it empties into the deep vein called the common femoral vein in the groin. This type of vein is usually responsible for varicose veins.

Perforating Vein
A vein that passes directly from a superficial vein to a deep vein.

Popliteal Vein
A deep vein located behind the knee. This vein is a common area for blood clots to form. The small saphenous vein starts from the popliteal vein.

Small Saphenous Vein
Also known as the lesser saphenous vein. A superficial vein that starts at the outside of the foot and travels up the back of the calf where it empties into the deep vein (popliteal vein) in the crease of the knee.

Spider Vein
A tiny varicose vein that may be a blue or red color that does not protrude above the skin surface and commonly looks like a spider. Medical terms you may hear for spider veins are telangiectasias and telangiectatic veins.

Reticular Vein
A medium sized vein that does not protrude above the skin. They feed the spider veins.

Varicose Vein
An enlarged, ropey and bulging vein that protrudes past the skin surface and usually measures greater than one-fourth of an inch (6.4 mm) in diameter. Varicose veins are formed when the one-way valves inside the veins do not work properly which usually originates from the saphenous system.

Abnormal blood flow which flows backward in the veins.

Competent Vein
Blood flow occurs in the proper direction back to the heart. Also referred to as Having No Reflux Or Normal Flow Direction.

Incompetent Vein
Blood flows in the wrong direction. Also referred to as a vein that has reflux.

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