Vein Glossary

Below is a glossary of terms related to all aspects of venous disease 


A generic term that refers to the closing of the greater saphenous vein (GSV), small saphenous vein (SSV), or anterior accessory saphenous vein using heat from a laser or radio frequency catheter. 

Air Plethysmography

Tool that measures the ability of your muscle pump which means the ability of your calf muscles to pump blood out of your veins. 

Ambulatory Venous Pressure

The venous pressure measured in the standing position after exercise. The higher the pressure the more significant the problem. 

Aneurysm of the Vein

The definition is a ballooning of the vein at greater than 1.5x the diameter of the adjacent veins. Aneurysms can be benign and cause no problems or they can be the source of a clot that can travel to the lungs (pulmonary embolus). The treatment depends on the location and the nearby anatomy. 


A network of new veins. 


A collection of blood vessels. 

Anterior Accessory Branch Greater Saphenous Vein (AAGSV)

One of the large superficial branches on the anterior thigh associated with the development of varicose veins in about 10% of patients. 


Anticoagulation refers to thinning of the blood and is used to prevent and treat clots. Some medications that do this include Coumadin (Warfarin), Low Molecular Weight Heparin, Xarelto, and others. 

Blood Clot

A blood clot may occur from trauma, inflammation, or abnormal clotting factors and is simply a mixture of blood components that have formed from a liquid to a solid state. 

CEAP Class

A classification system of the cause, location, and severity of venous problems. 

Chronic Venous Hypertension

The term used to describe the longstanding high pressure in the venous system. 
Chronic venous insufficiency 

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a condition that occurs when the venous wall and/or valves in the leg veins are not working effectively, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart from the legs.


A term used to describe the use of surgical stockings, ACE wraps, or other dressings to reduce the venous pressure at the skin level. 


Advanced radiologic imaging devices (CT scan/ MRI scan) to non-invasively look at veins of the abdomen and pelvis. 

Deep Venous Disease

Any abnormality that affects the deep venous system, such as reflux or clots. 


A natural plant extract cream used post procedures as well as for bruises. 

Duplex Ultrasonography

Combines ultrasound with a doppler commonly used today. The doppler is able to measure blood flow. 

Duplex Ultrasound Examination

The venous duplex examination permits your vein specialist to see the anatomy and check the flow characteristics of the veins beneath your skin. Useful information is gathered that your doctor can use to adequately diagnose your specific vein problem and to plan and guide treatment. 

Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)

This is where a small laser filament is inserted into a vein to cause thrombosis of the vein and scarring. 

Foam Sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is the injection of a sclerosing solution mixed with either carbon dioxide (C02) or air into a vein that causes thrombosis of the vein and eventual resolution. 

Frontal Veins

The frontal veins occur in pairs in the anterior medial region of the forehead. It often becomes enlarged especially after facial plastic surgery. (Also known as supratrochlear veins) -- Also called: supratrochlear veins 

Gastrocneimus Vein

Veins in the posterior calf associated with the gastrocnemius muscle. Clots can occur in these veins but, are not as dangerous as clots in the popliteal vein. 

Greater Saphenous Vein (GSV)

The GSV courses from the groin to the ankle on the inner aspect of the leg. The GSV is responsible for most visible bulging veins in the thigh and inner aspect of the calf. All veins have valves, and if the valve does not work right, then bulging varicosities occur through the branches of the GSV. 

High Ligation

Refers to the process of dividing the saphenous vein in the groin when the patient has saphenous insufficiency. In the United States, this procedure is being rapidly replaced with thermal ablation. 


Using a special modality that looks inside your veins by ultrasound 

Laser (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation)

A laser is used to treat veins. The laser delivers a single wavelength of intense electromagnetic radiation (light energy) directly into the vein, causing intense heat that destroys the lining of the vein. The vein will eventually clot and scar down. 

Lateral Reticular Perforator

A vein from the deeper system to the lateral reticular vein responsible for high pressure in the cutaneous circuit. 

Lateral Reticular Vein

Refers to the venous system on the lateral aspect of the leg that is the most common site for spider veins. 

Leiden Factor V

A patient with a mutation of Factor V (clotting factor) may be more prone to develop clots in the venous system. 


Lipedema is an adipose tissue lymphatic disorder causing volume increases in the lower body. It affects 11% of the female population. Symptoms can include pain, difficulty walking, and poor self image. 


The lumen is the opening inside of the vein in which blood flows. 


Lymphedema refers to swelling in the legs due to abnormal flow of fluid through lymph vessels. 


Cluster of red veins close together that can occur after treatment with sclerotherapy. This is thought to be an inflammatory response. 

Micro-Surgical Techniques

A procedure where very small incisions are made in treating spider veins. 

MOCA (Mechano-Chemical Ablation) (Clarivein)

A device that closes off the saphenous vein using sclerotherapy with a small rotating wire at the end of the catheter. 


A term used for the formation of new veins. Usually found after previous high ligations of the saphenous vein but, may occur after other vein procedures. 

Nutcracker Syndrome

A vascular compression disorder that refers to the compression of the left renal vein between the superior mesenteric artery and aorta. This can lead to renal venous hypertension, resulting in rupture of thin walled veins into the collecting system with resultant hematuria. 
Ohmic Thermolysis - VeinGogh 
A device using a small needle that transmits heat to cauterize small red spider veins. 

Partibial Perforator

Also known as Boyd's and Sherman's perforators. These veins connect the saphenous vein to either the posterior tibial vein or the popliteal vein. -- Also called: Boyd's perforators, Sherman's perforators 

Pelvic Congestion Syndrome

Refers to pain in the pelvic region related to dilated uterine and/or ovarian veins. May also be associated with vulvar varicosities. 

Percutaneous Foam Sclerotherapy

A technique where foam sclerotherapy is injected into a small vein on the skin surrounding a venous ulcer. Percutaneous foam sclerotherapy for venous leg ulcers. 


Perforator veins connect the superficial system to the deep system. These veins normally drain blood from the superficial veins to the deep veins as part of the process of returning oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. 


Inflammation of the vein wall which may lead to clot formation. 


doctor that has a special interest and/or expertise in the treatment of venous disease. 


Asclera (polidocanol injection) is a sclerosant used to treat spider veins. 

Popliteal Vein

Refers to the main draining vein of the leg located behind the knee. The popliteal vein becomes the femoral vein in the lower thigh. 

Posterior Tibial Perforator (Cockett's)

Communication between the posterior tibial vein and the posterior saphenous. It may be related to venous ulcers or spider veins around the ankle. 

Radio Frequency

Any type of device that produces heat from electricity and it is used to treat large and small veins. 


Refers to the formation of a new lumen after treatment of veins with heat ablation. 

Recurrent Veins

The term referred to the formation of new veins after previous venous procedures. The cause of recurrent veins must be determined before treatment can commence. 


Venous reflux occurs when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become diseased and no longer function as one-way valves. The blood refluxes back into your legs and is basically going the wrong way. The blood is being pushed back into the leg, instead of moving towards the heart for proper oxygenation. -- Also called: venous reflux 

Reticular Dermis

The area under the squamous layer of skin where most spider veins are located 0.3 mm to 0.8 mm below the skin level. 

Reticular Vein

The bluish/greenish veins are close to the skin surface. They are usually visible and everyone has them. When there is increased transmitted venous pressure, reticular veins sometimes will dilate or be associated with spider veins

Sapheon Glue

A recently approved modality that uses a bio-compatible to seal the saphenous vein not yet reimbursed by insurance companies. 


A term used for the solution used to do sclerotherapy for spider veins. FDA approved solutions are Sotradecol & Polidocanol. Other solutions doctors might use are glycerin and solutions that contain dextrose. Saline is rarely used since the effectiveness is low and it causes pain. 


Sclerotherapy is the injection of a sclerosing solution into a vein that causes thrombosis of the vein and eventual resolution. 

Skin Ulcer

A small sore that rarely occurs after sclerotherapy. Most heal spontaneously but, sometimes a small excision is needed. 

Small Saphenous Vein

(SSV) The small saphenous vein is located in the back of the leg. The vein starts at the crease in the knee and runs down the back of the calf and angles to the outside of the foot. This vein is responsible for varicose veins in 10% of patients. Varicose veins are located on the back of the calf or thigh. The vein empties into a deep vein called 'popliteal'. The popliteal vein is the main deep vein in the knee area. -- Also called: Short Saphenous Vein, Lesser Saphenous Vein 


Sotradecol (sodium tetradecyl sulfate) Injection is a sclerosing agent used by vein specialists to treat spider veins.

Spider Vein

Small red and bluish veins located just beneath the skin surface. Spider veins are usually associated with higher venous pressure in the reticular venous system. They can be associated with hormonal changes, pregnancy, heredity, and reflux in the deeper venous system. 


Staining refers to a brownish discoloration and often times seen after sclerotherapy treatment. This represents the iron pigment in the blood and resolves in most cases in a few weeks or months. 

Stasis Dermatitis

Refers to the pigmentation that occurs in the skin after long standing venous hypertension. 


The saphenous vein is removed by using a small wire that is passed from the groin to below the knee. This is rarely done now due to newer techniques. 

Suborbital Veins

Refers to the vein underneath the eye that becomes dilated in some patients. 

Superficial thrombophlebitis (SVT)

Inflammation of a vein due to a blood clot in a vein usually located in veins near the skin surface. -- Also called: superficial vein thrombosis 

Superficial Vein

Veins that are located closer to the skin above the muscles of the thigh and lower leg. In most cases, superficial veins are responsible for the bulging veins called varicosities. 


Increase fluid in the lower leg and gives a feeling of tightness or heaviness. 


Veins that connect the greater saphenous vein in the thigh to the femoral vein. 

Temporal Veins

Veins that are located in the lateral aspect of the face above the eye and may become quite prominent. 

Thermal Ablation

Saphenous vein is treated with heat from a laser or radio-frequency device to cause eventual scarring and occlusion of the vein. 


Thrombosis is the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel that obstructs the flow of blood through the circulatory system. 

TIRS Technique (Terminal Interruption of Reflux Source)

Using an ultrasound a foamed sclerosant solution is injected into a vessel to clot off a venous ulcer bed 

Tumescent Anesthetic

Refers to the use of a dilute solution with lidocaine with epinephrine, bicarbonate and normal saline used in the treatment of many venous procedures. 


An ultrasound uses sound waves that are emitted through a hand-held probe placed on the skin. Gel is used for better skin contact and this helps eliminate air that may interfere with the transmission of the sound waves. The sound waves pass through the tissues beneath the probe and are bounced back from the veins. Venous specialists use ultrasound to diagnose and treat venous disease of the lower legs. By doing an ultrasound, your doctor can get valuable information such as the size and location of your veins and the direction of blood flow within the veins. The information from the ultrasound examination is necessary in order to plan appropriate treatment 

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

An ultrasound is used to identify the deeper vessel that will be treated with a sclerosant. 


This is a thin tissue in the lumen of the vein itself. When working properly, the valve prevents blood from leaking back down the vein the wrong way. Valves may not work right due to hereditary or previous clots. 

Varicose Vein

Varicose veins are dilated veins near the surface of the skin that occur secondary to weakened valves and veins in your legs. In veins, there are one-way valves that keep blood flowing from your legs back up to your heart. When the valves are not functioning properly, blood collects in the veins in your legs and the pressure builds up. The veins become weakened, enlarged, and have a twisted appearance and may be dark blue in color. Varicose veins tend to run in families. Other causes of varicose veins include prior pregnancy, standing for long periods of time, age, tall stature, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, and oral contraceptive use. Varicose veins are commonly found in the lower extremities. 


Veins return blood to the heart. There are many veins named and un-named in the human body. Veins contain valves which prevent back flow of blood. 

Vein Light

A device that illuminates the superficial veins of the skin. May help identify feeding source of vein. 

Vein of Giacommini

Connects the greater saphenous vein (GSV) with the small saphenous vein (SSV). If it refluxes it can cause varicose veins or spider veins in the posterior thigh. 

VeinGogh (Ohmic Thermolysis)

device using a small needle that transmits heat to cauterize small red spider veins


is a procedure in which an x-ray of the veins is taken after the doctor injects a special dye into your veins. 

Venous Hypertension

The term used to describe the higher the normal pressure in the venous system. This is usually related to dysfunction of the venous valve or an old clot. 

Venous Malformation

Refers to a large group of venous problems that are usually congenital conditions 
Venous Severity Score (VSS) 

A grading system for the severity of the venous problem. Some insurance companies require the VSS score to be greater than 6. 

Venous Ulcer

A venous leg ulcer is a chronic, non-healing wound and occurs in individuals who have problems with the veins in their legs. Pressure gets too high in the veins, and this causes a breakdown of tissues that usually occurs around the ankles. 

Vulvar Varicosities

Refer to enlarged veins that often occur in conjunction with menstrual cycle locate in the vulvar region of the vagina. Most can be treated with foam sclerotherapy. 

Vein Glossary
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