Deep Vein Thrombosis Surgery Procedure & Complications

DVT or Deep Vein Thrombosis is a condition that can turn fatal if left untreated. In this condition, blood clots develop in the body's deep veins, chiefly due to an injury or sluggish blood. These blood clots can block the blood flow through your veins and may cause potentially life-threatening complications such as Pulmonary Embolism i.e., blockage in any of the pulmonary arteries in the lungs. DVT mostly occurs in the lower legs, thighs, or pelvis. However, they may also occur in other parts of the body, including the brain, arms, liver, kidney, or intestines. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis is generally categorized into two types: 

1) Acute Deep Vein Thrombosis

2) Chronic Deep Vein Thrombosis

What Are The Various Deep Vein Thrombosis Causes?

DVT is common in adults over the age of 60. However, it can affect anyone. The causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis are manifold. Anyone appearing for a surgery must also be aware of what might have caused the condition. So, listed below are some of the common causes of Deep Vein Thrombosis: 

  • Sitting for a prolonged period or being on stagnant in bed
  • Obesity 
  • Having a family history of blood clots 
  • Pregnancy or childbirth 
  • Being on birth control pills 
  • Recent surgeries or fractures

When Should You See A Doctor For Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment?

Deep Vein Thrombosis can be quite discomforting for those affected by it. Identifying Deep Vein Thrombosis symptoms can help patients seek timely medical attention. 

  • Swelling in calves on one or both the legs
  • Red, swollen, and hard veins
  • Discolored/Red skin in the legs, in addition to a warm sensation
  • Cramps in the affected leg that initiate in the leg
  • Pain in the shoulders, back, arm, or jaw
  • Swelling in hand or arms
  • Faint pain that travels from arm to forearm
  • Weakness in the hand
  • Blood in cough 
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Rapid Breathing 

Note: If you notice the above-mentioned signs of deep vein thrombosis, immediately get in touch with a vascular specialist to receive the necessary treatment. 

Preoperative Assessments 

During your consultation, the doctor will initially ask you about your medical history, your medicines, and the deep vein thrombosis causes and symptoms. He/she will then perform a physical exam to understand the underlying cause of the symptoms that you’re experiencing. Based on the findings of the physical exam, the doctor may suggest some tests, including: 

D-Dimer blood test: This blood test measures the presence of the D-dimer protein, which is produced when the body tries to break down blood clots. This test helps doctors in ruling out the risk of pulmonary embolism. A negative D-dimer test means there's no clot. 

Duplex Ultrasound: This standard imaging test is highly reliable in diagnosing DVT. In this test, doctors send sound waves inside the body to detect blockages and blood clots located deep in the veins. This is done with the help of a transducer. 

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: This scan will help the doctor diagnose DVT in the veins of the abdomen. In this test, the doctors use radio waves and magnetic fields to provide images of the body and help the doctor examine bones, soft tissues, and blood flow in the body. 

Venography: In this test, the doctor will inject a dye into a large vein in the ankle or foot. Then, an X-ray will be performed to look at the veins in the legs and feet. This helps in checking for blood clots.

Self Diagnosis

Homan's Sign Test is a common self-diagnosis test that helps patients diagnose DVT at home. In this test, you need to actively extend the knee of the leg that is manifesting symptoms of DVT. After that, take someone's help and raise your leg to 10 degrees. Ask the person assisting you to squeeze your calf passively and abruptly while flexing your foot. If you experience tenderness or pain in the calf during this examination, you might be affected by DVT. Patients who experience any sort of discomfort must immediately seek immediate medical attention to prevent the condition from worsening. 

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment

Surgical Treatment For Deep Vein Thrombosis

After carrying out a thorough deep vein thrombosis diagnosis, the doctors can determine the state and severity of the condition. Based on their findings, your doctor will work out the best treatment plan for you. Listed below are the treatment options for DVT: 

Non-surgical treatment methods can help you prevent the clot from breaking off or growing in size. However, in some cases, drugs can’t help in the absolute restoration of healthy blood flow, thereby making surgery requisite. So, on that note, here are the surgical treatments available for Deep vein thrombosis: 

Types Of DVT Surgeries 

After examining the seriousness of the DVT, the vascular surgeon may prescribe any of the following surgeries for your DVT treatment: 

Percutaneous mechanical thrombectomy/Angioplasty: This is an incredibly safe, effective Deep vein thrombosis treatment performed in cases of acute iliofemoral Deep vein thrombosis. In this treatment method, percutaneous thrombectomy is paired with percutaneous transluminal angioplasty. The surgeon will insert a catheter with an inflatable balloon into the clot through a tiny incision. The balloon will then be inflated and carefully pulled back outside. This will remove the clot entirely. 

Inferior vena cava (IVC) Filter: IVC filters come into the picture when blood thinners fail to work. This treatment method involves the insertion of a metallic device or filter inside the Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) i.e., a large blood vessel that carries deoxygenated blood from the abdomen, back and lower extremities to the heart. This filter traps the blood clots and lowers the risk of pulmonary embolism. In this X-ray-guided procedure, the surgeon makes an incision around the abdomen and inserts the catheter in the vein. Then, they place the filter over the blood clot that eventually attaches itself to the walls of the veins. 

Open thrombectomy/Venous Thrombectomy: In this procedure, surgeons extract the blood clot using surgical methods. The vascular surgeon makes incisions to remove the blood vessels and then repairs them along with the tissues. 

Catheter-directed thrombolysis: In this minimally invasive method, the surgeons dissolve the clot instead of extracting it. This treatment method uses x-ray, catheters, and particular dissolving medicines to help improve blood flow. In addition, it also ensures that there’s no additional damage to the tissue or the organs. The best part? The recovery time is less, and the patient isn’t required to stay in the hospital for too long. 

How To Prepare For Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment? 

Being prepared for the surgery helps you have a smooth sail. The following tips will help patients prepare for the surgery and have a hassle-free experience: 

  • Are you on OTC pills or other prescription medicines such as blood thinners or supplements? Make sure you discuss this with your doctor beforehand. 
  • Discuss all the symptoms in detail with your doctor to avoid potential complications during surgery. 
  • If you’re pregnant, communicate it to your doctor in advance. 
  • You must completely refrain from smoking. Smoking can slow down the healing process after the surgery. 
  • All patients receive Anesthesia before the surgery. So, discuss the possibility of having an allergic reaction to Anesthesia in advance. 
  • You will have to avoid eating or drinking before the surgery. 

Post-Operative Care:

After the surgery, the staff will move you to a recovery room. You will remain there till the impact of anesthesia fades. During the recovery, the healthcare team will constantly examine your vital signs, including your heart rate and breathing. Once you're stable, the doctors will discharge you.

When Should You Seek Treatment For DVT?

If you're experiencing one or multiple DVT symptoms, you must immediately seek medical attention and the respective treatment. The treatment for DVT is most effective in the first two weeks of diagnosis. Remember, the effectiveness of any DVT treatment reduces after 4 weeks from the diagnosis. Therefore, we'd suggest you discuss your symptoms with a vascular surgeon in time, and get treated before the condition worsens. 

Not all DVT patients are sent directly for surgery. In the less serious cases, even non-invasive treatment options help prevent the blood clots from growing or breaking loose and traveling to the lungs. Some non-surgical treatment options for DVT include: 

Blood Thinners: Blood thinners, known as anticoagulants, are widely used for treating DVT. These drugs prevent clots from growing in size and even reduce the risk of developing more clots. However, they don't necessarily break the blood clots. 

Thrombolytics/Clot busters: These drugs are usually prescribed in severe cases of DVT. They help in breaking the blood clots formed in the vessels. They are mostly prescribed to patients who have experienced Pulmonary embolism because of DVT. 

Compression stockings: Compression stockings lower your risk of developing blood clots and pools. They also help in temporarily managing the discomfort caused due to DVT. 

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