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Updated: Mar 14 2021

Venous Drainage of the Lower Extremity drainage le.jpg
  • Deep perforating veins from dorsal venous arch form anterior tibial vein
    • medial and lateral plantar veins form posterior tibial and fibular veins
      • anterior tibial, posterior tibial, fibular veins combine to form popliteal vein at knee
      • popliteal vein becomes femoral vein - major deep vein of lower extremity
        • deep vein of thigh joins terminal section of femoral vein
        • external iliac vein - once femoral vein passes under inguinal ligament
  • Superficial veins
    • dorsal venous arch gives rise to great saphenous vein on medial side of foot 
      • great saphenous vein ascends up medial side of leg, passes anteriorly to medial malleolus at ankle and posteriorly to medial condyle at knee  
      • drains into femoral vein distal to inguinal ligament
    • dorsal venous arch gives rise to small saphenous vein on lateral side of foot
      • small saphenous vein ascends on posterior side of leg, passes posterior to lateral malleolus along lateral border of calcaneal tendon
      • moves between two heads of gastrocnemius muscle and drains into popliteal vein in politeal fossa


Clinical Relevance
  • Varicose veins
    • valves of superficial veins become incompetent, resulting in dilation of superficial veins
  • Great saphenous vein harvesting
    • frequently performed for coronary artery bypass procedures and peripheral arterial bypass procedures
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