Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Veins Varicose Anatomy

Veins are thin-walled vessels that carry blood from the tissues. Veins normally permit the flow of blood in one direction: back toward the heart. Tiny valves inside the veins prevent blood flow from reversing direction, which is especially important in the legs. Leg muscle contractions squeeze blood out of veins, which helps to pump blood back toward the heart.

There are many deep and superficial (closer to the skin) veins in the body. The saphenous vein in the leg is one of the largest superficial veins.

Anatomy examples:

  • Saphenous vein
  • Varicose veins

Last Updated: Aug 21, 2008 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Veins Varicose References
  1. Bartholomew JR, King T, Sahgal A, Vidimos AT. Varicose veins: newer, better treatments available. Cleve Clin J Med. 2005 Apr;72(4):312-4, 319-21, 325-8. [15850243]
  2. Guex JJ. Thrombotic complications of varicose veins. A literature review of the role of superficial venous thrombosis. Dermatol Surg. 1996 Apr;22(4):378-82. [8624665]
  3. MacKay D. Hemorrhoids and varicose veins: a review of treatment options. Altern Med Rev. 2001 Apr;6(2):126-40. [11302778]
  4. Pascarella L, Schmid Schonbein GW. Causes of telengiectasias, reticular veins, and varicose veins. Semin Vasc Surg. 2005 Mar;18(1):2-4. [15791545]
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