Great Saphenous Vein

Great Saphenous Vein (GSV), sometimes known as the “long saphenous vein,” is a vast subcutaneous vein of the leg. The deep femoral vein in the femoral triangle is the longest in the body, returning blood from the foot, leg, and thigh to the deep femoral vein.

great saphenous vein

What is Great Saphenous Vein?

The human body’s most significant vein is the great saphenous vein. The long saphenous vein is another name for it. This vein, the great saphenous, originates in the medial marginal vein of the foot and travels through the lower leg to the femoral vein near the knee.

Like the other veins in the lower leg, the great saphenous vein can resist gravity and return blood to the heart. With the use of valves, the veins may be returned to their proper position. It is separated into superficial and deep venous systems in the body.

If a tourniquet is used, the simple system may be seen on the surface of our skin. To perform blood tests, blood samples are drawn from these veins. Flow from the superficial veins to the deep veins (which share the same names as the arteries they run along).

In addition to the inferior and superior vena cava, these deep veins also deliver blood from them to the heart’s right atrium.

Great Saphenous Vein Location

A vital vein in the lower leg, the great saphenous vein, is one of the most extensive superficial veins. The femoral vein, which is located in the middle of the femoral triangle, receives this drainage.

Medial adductor longus adductors create femoral triangles on both sides of the femur and the inguinal ligament at their base. The saphenofemoral juncture is where the saphena and femoral veins meet.

The dorsal vein of the hallux joins the dorsal venous arch of the foot to form the great saphenous vein. It then follows the vein’s path (a relatively easy area to locate the vein). Ascending the lateral aspect of the thigh, the vein travels posteriorly to the femoral medial epicondyle.

Then it ascends the thigh and crosses the medial thigh surface. The medial femoral cutaneous nerves accompany it in the thigh. The saphenous artery runs parallel to the knee, leg, and foot (a branch of the descending genicular artery).

To reach the fascia lata, the great saphenous vein must first go through an opening known as the saphenous opening before continuing on its journey. It joins the femoral vein in the middle of the femoral triangle as an arch.

Femoral Triangle

The femoral triangle’s medial most feature is the great saphenous vein. It has a gap on each side that permits the vein to expand as venous return rises. The femoral artery is located on the lateral side of the great saphenous vein.

The femoral nerve (posterior divisions of the anterior rami of spinal nerves L2-L4), which runs close to the anterior superior iliac spine, and passes under the inguinal ligament, is the most lateral structure in the lower extremity. To keep blood flowing in the proper direction, this vein has several valves.

When the saphenous vein fuses with the femoral vein, the superficial and deep vein systems are separated by a valve.

Smaller veins from the ankle and foot enter the big saphenous vein. The tiny saphenous vein and the medial marginal vein are two examples (it has numerous connections with its smaller counterpart in the lower region of the leg).

The perforating veins in the leg link it to the short saphenous vein and the deep veins. It gets three significant tributaries around the knee and several tributaries in the thigh: posteromedial, anterolateral, and peri-inguinal, which are superficial epigastric and superficial circumflex iliac and superficial external pudendal veins.

Another perforator takes branches from the popliteal vein. The vein acquires branches from the common femoral vein as it ascends in the thigh.


Ankle superficial vein, the Great Saphenous Vein. It drains the medial thigh and leg. It drains into the saphenofemoral vein. In addition to the small saphenous vein, it gets blood from designated perforators in the thigh and knee. It is used in CABG operations. The popliteal vein perforates the great saphenous vein (of Boyd). The Dodd perforating vein links the femoral and saphenous veins.

Great Saphenous Vein Structure

The dorsal vein of the big toe connects with the dorsal venous arch of the foot to form the great saphenous vein. It runs along the medial side of the leg after passing in front of the medial malleolus. It crosses the medial epicondyle of the femur bone at the knee.

The great saphenous vein pierces the cribriform fascia of the saphenous aperture in the proximal anterior thigh 3–4 centimeters inferolateral to the pubic tubercle. Connecting to the common femoral vein creates an arch, the saphenous arch, near the saphenofemoral intersection in the femoral triangle area.

Many veins join the great saphenous vein. However, not all of them are present in every person. At varied average distances from its connection with the common femoral vein (CFV), most of them join it:

Vein Presence Joins from direction Distance from CFV joins
Iliac Vein 83% Lateral 10.8 mm
Superficial Vein 78% Proximal 11.9 mm
Pudendal Veins 90% Medial 16.9 mm
Saphenous Vein 51% Lateral 20.5 mm

There are numerous perforator vein connections to the anterior and posterior tibial veins and the great saphenous and popliteal veins near the knee and femoral veins in the thigh.

The great saphenous vein receives branches from the sole through the medial marginal vein at the ankle and lower leg. The small saphenous vein anastomoses freely with the great saphenous vein.

The superficial epigastric, the superficial circumflex iliac vein, and the superficial external pudendal veins are located near the fossa ovalis.

Between the superficial epigastric vein and the lateral thoracic vein, the thoracic-epigastric vein serves as an essential conduit for the femoral vein and the axillary vein to communicate.

Great Saphenous Vein Function

When transporting deoxygenated blood from the lower limbs to the heart, the great saphenous vein is the principal conduit.

Major and minor veins are involved in this process, including the following:

  • The medial marginal vein drains blood from the sole and helps create the beginning of the great saphenous vein.

  • The saphenous vein drains lateral surfaces of the upper foot, ankle, and leg.

  • In the back of the knee, the popliteal vein is formed by the union of two tibial veins, an anterior and a posterior, which drain from the foot, ankle, and leg.

  • The accessory saphenous, anterior femoral cutaneous, superficial epigastric, superficial circumflex iliac, and superficial external pudendal veins are among the thigh’s many veins that collect blood from the leg and thigh’s surface as well as its deeper tissues.

Rehabilitation of Great Saphenous Vein

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating the great saphenous vein. In some instances, different techniques may be required, depending on the unique situation.

Here’s a short glance of how this ship’s rehabilitation would look:

  • Modifications to one’s way of life may help alleviate the symptoms and enhance circulation, especially if one has varicose veins.

  • Keeping the legs elevated and using compression stockings might be helpful in the treatment of both varicose veins and thrombosis.

  • You may be administered painkillers, anti-inflammatory meds, or even blood thinners like Coumadin for thrombophlebitis (warfarin). It has been authorized by the FDA to treat varicose veins.

  • This procedure, also known as endovenous ablation, may be used to treat varicose veins. Using a catheter, heat is supplied to the problem locations, resulting in the closure of the veins impacted by this procedure.

  • A medicated solution is injected into troublesome veins using sclerotherapy, causing them to enlarge and form scar tissue. Sclerotherapy: This, in turn, improves blood flow and reduces the appearance of scarring.

  • Varicose veins may be difficult to treat, although surgical stripping of the veins can help. Smaller incisions and less intrusive procedures have been around for a long time.

Great Saphenous Vein Reflux

There are valves in every vein, and the great saphenous vein is no different. They are primarily responsible for directing and controlling blood flow by pushing it higher toward the heart. In chronic venous disease (CVI), the blood can flow back down the leg if these valves fail in chronic venous disease (CVI).

Blood may travel backward from the heart to a patient’s ankle via the saphenous vein. Varicose veins may develop due to stretching the smaller veins that branch from the central saphenous vein, or the hundreds of tiny capillaries might become inflamed or damaged.

Swelling, pain, or fatigue in the limb region, as well as red or brown spots on the ankle, are signs of this condition. Either way, none of these scenarios is incredibly pleasurable for the sufferer.

Treatments for saphenous vein reflux are available. Reflux (incompetence) of the saphenous vein may be treated using the following:

  • Uses heat to reduce veins and capillaries without the need for surgery.

  • Laser treatment of the saphenous vein defect

  • Foam or glue-based chemical ablative techniques

  • Traditional open surgery in which the diseased vein is surgically removed.

A patient’s health, demands, and requirements will have a significant role in the sort of therapy they get. To their credit, many of these approaches are both non-invasive and scientifically shown to work.

The saphenous vein issue, its causes, and treatment options are all laid out here for your perusal.

GSV insufficiency may be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly. It’s always a good idea to see your doctor if you notice symptoms like varicose veins or uncomfortable hurting or swollen limbs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some most frequent questions about great saphenous vein:

1. What is the purpose of the large saphenous vein?

When draining the blood from the lower leg and knee, the great saphenous vein is a vital component of the circulatory system (closer to the surface). Oxygen and nutrients are returned to the heart and lungs, which may be distributed throughout the body.

2. So, do you need that massive saphenous vein?

As with your appendix, the saphenous vein can no longer be relied upon if it isn’t working correctly. Endovenous ablation is used in most varicose vein operations to remove the saphenous vein gently.

3. Is it possible to detect the great saphenous vein in your lower leg?

The dorsal vein of the big toe (the hallux) joins with the dorsal venous arch of the foot to form the great saphenous vein. Once it has passed in front of the medial malleolus, it continues up the leg’s medial side.

4. What is the depth of the saphenous vein?

Anatomy of the Great Saphenous Vein This is the most prominent superficial vein in the leg, and it is also the longest vein in the whole human body. Blood from the thigh, calf and foot travels through this vein to reach the deep femoral vein at the femoral triangle.

5. How do you handle the great saphenous vein?

Suppose you suffer from extraordinary saphenous vein incompetence. In that case, the most common treatments include high ligation with stripping, thermal ablation (EVTA), and ultrasound-guided foam injections, all of which can be performed using endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or radiofrequency ablation (UGFS).

6. Is the great saphenous vein susceptible to blood clots?

If you notice a warm, sensitive, or hurting sensation in your lower leg, you may be suffering from a blood clot in the GSV. Swelling may also occur in certain circumstances.

7. What is the most excellent artery in the human body?

The superior vena cava and inferior vena cava are the two most enormous veins in the human body, which transport blood from the upper and lower torsos to the heart’s right atrium, respectively.

8. Why is my saphenous vein sore and inflamed?

Thrombophlebitis, the swelling of a vein due to a blood clot, may affect the lesser saphenous vein. Saphenous thrombophlebitis may cause discomfort and inflammation in the lower limbs. Warm compresses and a medication therapy regimen should be used as part of the treatment.

9. In what ways does the removal of the saphenous vein affect one’s health?

Swollen legs are standard after vein ablation procedures, such as radiofrequency or laser ablation. A tumescent anesthetic, which was used to numb the vein, is responsible for the enlargement. A swollen area is where the vein was treated, and you’ll notice it.

10. Is Endovenous Laser Ablation a Painful Procedure?

It’s a painless operation that may be done in the doctor’s office with a local anesthetic. We need a little hole to put a narrow catheter into the vein during the treatment.


A superficial vein, the great saphenous vein, is well-known. A system of valves separates the deep veins from the superficial veins. To keep blood flowing from the surface to deep systems, these valves are necessary. When these valves fail, they enlarge tortuous veins that are painful to the touch. This causes varicose veins. Pregnancy, chronic heart disease, obesity, and extended-standing are all potential causes.

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