INFERIOR VENA CAVA
The inferior vena cava, the biggest vein in the body, forms from the joining of the two common iliac veins at about the level of the umbilicus slightly right from the spine. On its way up to the heart, inferior vena cava collects blood from kidneys and all of the organs of the abdomen, penetrates the diaphragm and drains into the right atrium.
Once the common femoral vein leaves the lower extremity and enters the pelvis by crossing under the inguinal ligament it becomes the external iliac vein. The internal iliac vein collects all the blood from the organs of the pelvis. The external and internal iliac veins join together forming a common iliac vein.
INGUINAL LYMPH NODES
A lymph node is a small oval-shape collection of lymphatic tissue belonging to the immune system. They are strategically positioned in small groups across the entire body. Lymph nodes are connected with each other via lymphatic vessels. They collect and filter lymph and eventually drain it into the blood. While from the heart the fresh blood is carried by the arteries, the return of the used blood happens not only through the veins, but also via the lymphatic circulation. Lymph delivers antigens foreign to our body, such as bacteria, viruses and malignant cells into the lymph nodes, where they are destroyed. Also lymph carries lipids not soluble in the blood. The majority of flexor surfaces of our joints contain groups of lymph nodes. For example, axillary, inguinal and popliteal groups of lymph nodes are located in the underarm, groin crease and behind-the-knee areas correspondingly. It is not uncommon for the lymph nodes to become enlarged in response to the development of infection or malignancy in the area drained by them. For example, infection of the lower extremity can be accompanied by enlargement of popliteal or inguinal lymph nodes, while breast cancer can lead to metastatic enlargement of axillary lymph nodes.
The femoral veins while belonging to the deep venous system are divided into common, superficial and deep femoral veins. The superficial femoral vein is a continuation of the popliteal vein. It delivers the blood from the lower leg and foot into the common femoral vein just below the groin, where the deep femoral vein brings used blood from the tissues of the thigh. The common femoral vein receives the greater saphenous vein and after passing under the inguinal ligament becomes the external iliac vein.
GREATER SAPHENOUS VEIN
The greater saphenous vein is the largest one of two veins belonging to the superficial venous system. It helps the deep veins to bring all the blood from the lower extremities up toward the heart. Despite its name ("saphenous" on Latin means "wandering") in healthy state it has relatively constant position on the leg. The greater saphenous vein occupies the inner part of the ankle and thigh, and empties into the common femoral vein right in the groin crease.
The popliteal vein forms from merging tibio-peroneal veins just below the knee, goes up behind the knee, where it collects the blood from the knee joint, receives the lesser saphenous vein and becomes the superficial femoral vein right above the knee.
- LESSER SAPHENOUS VEIN
TIBIAL & PERONEAL VEINS
There are at least two of the anterior tibial, posterior tibial and peroneal veins corresponding to each artery with the same name. These veins are located next to the corresponding artery, but bring the blood in the opposite direction - upstream. All these veins originate individually from the plantar arch and join together into the popliteal vein right behind the knee.
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