Thrombophlebitis is a condition where a blood clot blocks one or more veins. Although it usually occurs in a person’s leg, it has been known to occur in other areas, including arm and neck veins. The long, scary-looking name is simply a combination of “thrombo,” which means clot, and phlebitis, which is an inflamed vein.

What deep vein thrombosis looks like

The condition can be caused by prolonged inactivity such being bed-ridden for some time or a long plane trip with little leg room. It can also be caused by some kind of trauma or even from surgery if a vein is injured during the procedure. Sometimes blood clot disorders are hereditary.

Superficial Thrombophlebitis

When thrombophlebitis occurs in one of the veins near the skin’s surface, it’s called superficial thrombophlebitis. The vein can become swollen, irritated, hard and even painful.

Varicose veins are one frequent cause of this condition. This is because blood pools in these stretched-out vessels instead of moving through them as it should. This pooling can lead to clots. They can also occur at sites where a person had a catheterization or intravenous infusion.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

The more serious type of thrombophlebitis is deep vein thrombosis (commonly referred to as DVT). With DVT, a vein deep inside the muscle becomes blocked. The concern with both of these types of thrombophlebitis, but particularly with DVT, is that a clot will break loose and go into a lung. There it can cause a pulmonary embolism, which is an artery blockage.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Because the symptoms of thrombophlebitis can be similar to those of other conditions, it can be difficult to self-diagnose. With superficial thrombophlebitis, the affected area to feel tender or painful and warm to the touch. The area may also become swollen and red. With DVT, your entire leg is more likely to be painful and swollen.

Blood-thinning and clot-dissolving medications can help with the immediate problem. However, if you are prone to thrombophlebitis, you may want to consider having the affected veins removed to help prevent recurrences.

Our Atlanta vein specialists can diagnose your particular condition so that you can get the treatment you need. If you opt to have the troublesome vein(s) removed, we have a variety of non- and minimally-invasive procedures to permanently remove the veins. VeinInnovations has three convenient Atlanta locations, now with Saturday hours. Call or complete our online contact form to set up an appointment with one of our vein doctors.