Thrombectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove deep thrombosis, or blood clots that have formed in the deep veins. Thrombectomy procedures are typically performed under emergency circumstances when a blood clot is at a high risk of dislodging and causing a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. Thrombectomy is a type of embolectomy. An embolectomy is a procedure that removes blockages from the blood vessels that can occur from fatty deposits or other build-ups. The majority of thrombectomy procedures are ordered under emergency circumstances to save a patient's life.
Removing blood clots from the venous system can be achieved in a number of different ways. Thrombolysis involves using anticoagulant medication to dissolve the blood clot before it has a chance to move around. Anticoagulant medication, which softens plasma that has hardened, can be administered through an intravenous (IV) needle or an x-ray-guided catheter that delivers the medication directly into the blood clot. There are also some thrombolytic procedures that combine the use of medication with the use of a mechanical device to physically break up and remove blood clots. When a blood clot is removed by physical rather than pharmacological means, the procedure is called a mechanical thrombectomy.
A thrombectomy procedure is often followed by an angioplasty, which is the surgical repair of blood vessels. During an angioplasty, narrowed blood vessels are opened up using a balloon catheter that can be guided into the blocked vessel and then inflated. Artificial stents, or tiny tubes made of plastic, metal or fabric, can then be placed inside the vessel to hold it up and prevent it from collapsing.
Vein doctors who detect severe vascular insufficiency typically recommend thrombectomy. Venous insufficiency occurs when blood valves are not functioning correctly, allowing blood to flow backward through one-way valves. This, in turn, encourages blood in the legs, ankles and feet to pool and cause swelling. Poor blood circulation caused by vascular insufficiency makes it more likely that a blood clot will develop. Once venous insufficiency is detected, medical doctors who specialize in treating cardiovascular disease typically perform the thrombectomy procedure. Contact a medical specialist listed in our directory to learn more about removing blood clots with a thrombectomy procedure.