JIM VARNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JIM VARNEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Varicose vein surgery. Close-up of surgical tools being used in an operation to remove varicose veins from a patient's legs. The incision in the leg is being held open by surgical retractors, and suturing thread is being used to tie off the vein before removal. Varicose veins form due to defective valves in veins, usually those of the legs. As blood is circulated around the legs, these valves prevent it from sinking to the feet. As the valves stop working, blood pools downwards, distending the veins. Surgical removal is carried out in severe cases, allowing the blood to flow through other veins instead. Photographed in the UK.
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