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What is the difference between superficial, deep, and perforating leg veins?

What is the difference between deep, perforating and superficial veins? Which ones can become varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (2)

Superficial veins run parallel and just below the skin to drain blood circulating through the skin. Deep veins run through the muscle and deeper structures of the body. These are typically larger veins with valves that support one-way flow back to the heart and resist reversed or backwards flow (reflux) due to gravity. When the muscles contract, the veins in the muscles are compressed and the blood lifted upward toward the heart. The superficial veins flow or drain into the deep veins at many locations including short connecting veins that perforate down through muscle and connective tissues. These perforating veins also have one-way valves to allow superficial venous blood to flow at low pressure into the deep system, but prevent high pressure venous blood generated during muscle movement from reaching the surface veins and damaging them. Poorly functioning perforating veins will eventually form varicose veins, and can be treated by various techniques in a vein clinic.

Typically veins in the superficial system and perforators become dysfunctional, and most can be fixed.

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