Small saphenous vein

The small saphenous vein (also short saphenous vein or lesser saphenous vein), is a relatively large superficial vein of the posterior leg.

Small saphenous vein
Small saphenous vein and its tributaries. (Small saphenous vein labeled vertically at center.)
Sourcedorsal venous arch of the foot
Drains topopliteal vein
Latinvena saphena parva
Anatomical terminology


The origin of the small saphenous vein, (SSV) is where the dorsal vein from the fifth digit (smallest toe) merges with the dorsal venous arch of the foot, which attaches to the great saphenous vein (GSV). It is a superficial vein being subcutaneous, (just under the skin).

From its origin, it courses around the lateral aspect of the foot (inferior and posterior to the lateral malleolus) and runs along the posterior aspect of the leg (with the sural nerve), where it passes between the heads of the gastrocnemius muscle.[1][2] This vein presents a number of different draining points.[1] Usually, it drains into the popliteal vein, at or above the level of the knee joint.[1]


Sometimes, the SSV joins the common gastrocnemius vein before draining in the popliteal vein.[2]

Sometimes, it doesn't make contact with the popliteal vein, but goes up to drain in the GSV at a variable level.[1]

Instead of draining in the popliteal vein, it can merge with the Giacomini vein and drain in the GSV at the superior 1/3 of the thigh.[1][3]

Clinical significanceEdit

Varicose veinsEdit

The small saphenous vein may become varicose.[4] In 20% of cases, this is associated with chronic venous insufficiency.[5] Vein stripping is an effective treatment.[4]

Vein HarvestingEdit

The small saphenous vein may be harvested for transplant to elsewhere in the body, such as in coronary artery bypass surgery.[6] Endoscopic vein harvesting can be used to extract the vein from the leg minimally invasively.[6]

See alsoEdit

Additional imagesEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Ricci, Stefano (2017-01-01), Goldman, Mitchel P.; Weiss, Robert A. (eds.), "1 - Anatomy", Sclerotherapy (Sixth Edition), Elsevier, pp. 1–26, doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-37726-3.00001-0, ISBN 978-0-323-37726-3, retrieved 2020-11-19
  2. ^ a b Myers, KENNETH; Clough, AMY (2007-01-01), Bergan, John J. (ed.), "CHAPTER 32 - Treatment of Small Saphenous Vein Reflux", The Vein Book, Burlington: Academic Press, pp. 291–298, doi:10.1016/b978-012369515-4/50035-1, ISBN 978-0-12-369515-4, retrieved 2020-11-19
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-06-26. Retrieved 2013-02-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ a b Kalra, Manju; Gloviczki, Peter (2009-01-01), Hallett, John W.; Mills, Joseph L.; Earnshaw, Jonothan J.; Reekers, Jim A. (eds.), "chapter 44 - Surgical Treatment of Varicose Veins", Comprehensive Vascular and Endovascular Surgery (Second Edition), Philadelphia: Mosby, pp. 756–770, doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-05726-4.00046-9, ISBN 978-0-323-05726-4, retrieved 2020-11-25
  5. ^ Goldman, Mitchel P.; Guex, Jean-Jérôme (2017-01-01), Goldman, Mitchel P.; Weiss, Robert A. (eds.), "11 - Intravascular Approaches to the Treatment of Varicose Veins: Radiofrequency, Lasers and More", Sclerotherapy (Sixth Edition), Elsevier, pp. 347–364, doi:10.1016/b978-0-323-37726-3.00011-3, ISBN 978-0-323-37726-3, retrieved 2020-11-25
  6. ^ a b Jimenez, Juan Carlos; Smith, Joshua C. (2011-01-01), Moore, Wesley S.; Ahn, Samuel S. (eds.), "Chapter 72 - Endoscopic Vein Harvest", Endovascular Surgery (Fourth Edition), Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders, pp. 745–750, doi:10.1016/b978-1-4160-6208-0.10072-2, ISBN 978-1-4160-6208-0, retrieved 2020-11-25

External linksEdit