What is the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV)?
The Great Saphenous Vein is the main superficial vein of the leg. The superficial veins drain blood from the foot, skin and fat of the leg – but not the muscle or bone. Blood from these are drained by the deep veins. There are two main superficial veins, also known as truncal veins. These are the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) and the Small Saphenous Vein (SSV).
The Great Saphenous Vein (GSV), being the longest superficial vein in the body, is often used for bypass grafts for heart bypass or for leg arterial bypass operations. It is also the commonest underlying cause for varicose veins and venous leg ulcers.
In the past, the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) has been called various other names including the Long Saphenous Vein (LSV), the Greater Saphenous Vein and the Saphena Magna amongst other things. However since 2001 in Europe and 2004 in the United States, the venous world has agreed to use only the name Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) for this vein. Unfortunately many non-experts still use the old terminology. As with all advances, with education the new names will become more widely used even amongst non-specialists.