The great saphenous vein: vessels, bypasses, bulging
What is it? The longest vessel in our body— it’s a vein that runs close to the skin, up our leg. It starts in the foot and runs in front of the knob of bone on the inside of the ankle, where it can often be seen and felt, then it travels up the inside of the leg. How did it get its name? It’s named after a Greek word, saphenes , meaning ‘‘ obviously visible’’. It is ‘‘ great’’ because there is also a lesser saphenous vein, which it joins. What use is it? Apart from carrying blood up the leg back towards the heart, this vein is sometimes used in coronary artery bypass operations. Surgeons remove part of it to use as a replacement for a blocked coronary artery. What can go wrong with it? People with bulging varicose veins often have the problem in the great saphenous vein.