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Deep Veins of the Leg – Schematic
Deep veins of the leg.
The lower limb consists of two main types of veins: superficial veins and deep veins. The
(not shown) are located within the subcutaneous tissue while the
are found deep to the muscular fascia. The deep veins accompany the major arteries. Both types of veins contain venous valves, to prevent reflux of blood distally. In addition, small
(not shown) penetrate the muscular fascia and connect the superficial and deep veins.
connect veins within the same system (i.e., deep to deep, superficial to superficial). The deep venous system of the calf includes the anterior and posterior
veins and the paired
veins are intramuscular veins forming a plexus or sinus of veins that drain the gastrocnemius and soleal muscles and empty into the deeper named veins of the calf and popliteal fossa. Some consider these veins to be deep, others view them as superficial. The natural course and management of deep vein thrombosis involving the tibial and peroneal veins is much better understood compared with isolated gastrocnemius and soleal vein thrombi (IGSVT). The
is formed by the confluence of the calf veins. The popliteal vein drains into the
(this was once called the
superficial femoral vein
, a term that has been abandoned because it is not a superficial vein). The femoral vein and
deep femoral vein
converge at the
common femoral vein
, which then drains into the external iliac vein.
A graphic showing the gastrocnemius and soleal veins.
Venous systems of the leg.
The skin and subcutaneous tissues are drained by the venous plexuses. Superficial veins (a) are connected to deep veins through perforators (b). The deep fascia covers the muscles, and the saphenous fascia invests the saphenous vein.