How do Veins Work ?

Blood circulates in the body through a system of blood vessels that consist of arteries and veins. Arteries carry blood from the heart to different parts of the body. Veins are blood vessels that carry blood from various tissues of the body to the heart.


How do veins work?

There are 3 types of veins in the leg:

  • Superficial veins lie just below the skin and are easily seen on the surface. These veins carry 10% of the blood back to the heart.
  • Deep veins are found deep within the muscles of the leg and carry 90% of the blood back to the heart.
  • Perforator veins run perpendicular to the superficial veins and connect the superficial veins to the deep veins.

Each vein has small unidirectional valves that regulate the flow of blood in the right direction. When the calf muscle (muscle located in the back of the lower leg) contracts, the valves in the vein opens and blood is squeezed through the vein in an upward direction. When the muscles relax, the valves of the vein close temporarily to stop the blood from flowing away from the heart.


Venous insufficiency (VI) or malfunctioning of the valves in the vein may cause the blood to pool in the leg as it is not effectively returned to the heart. VI causes varicose veins and possibly spider veins.

  • Varicose veins are enlarged veins caused due to weak or damaged valves in the veins. They appear twisted, bulged and blue, red or flesh coloured. They are swollen and raised above the surface of the skin and are mostly found on the thighs, back of the calves and inside of the leg. The symptoms include itching, restless legs, aching, cramps, heaviness and tired legs.

  • Spider veins are a group of smaller veins that are found just beneath the skin and look similar to a spider web. These veins appear red, blue or purple and can occur anywhere in the body, but are more commonly found on the legs.

Unlike vascular labs that focus most of their attention on arteries, or Radiology clinics that do “general imaging”, The Vein Clinic is a specialist facility dealing only with veins. Dr Matar is a dual qualified Radiologist and Phlebologist, who obtains excellent results through a thorough approach to diagnosis, including medical history, examinations and detailed ultrasound assessments.

Only once a thorough assessment has been undertaken can all the available and most appropriate treatment options be discussed with you.


Venous reflux

Venous reflux, also known as venous insufficiency or venous incompetence, occurs when there is malfunctioning of the vein valves. The valves may become “leaky” and allow blood to flow in the wrong direction. Venous reflux may cause the blood to pool in the leg, as it is not effectively returned to the heart. Venous reflux is the underlying cause of varicose veins and is often also identified in patients with spider veins.

We offer the following non-surgical treatments to gently abolish venous reflux, the underlying cause of varicose veins.

If you would like to know more about how veins work and how we treat them, contact us.

  • University of Melbourne