Superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition in which a blood clot occurs in the veins just below the skin. This most often takes place in the legs but can also affect the arms and neck. The condition is important to treat if you have varicose veins, as it can develop into something more serious.
Superficial thrombophlebetitis should be distinguished from deep vein thrombosis, which occurs in the deep vein of the calf or thigh. DVT is more serious and should be treated immediately. In either case, an ultrasound study will determine the underlying problem.
Superficial Thrombophlebetitis Symptoms
- Skin appearing red and inflamed along a vein
- Skin around a vein feeling warm
- Pain that gets worse with additional pressure
- Pain throughout a limb
- Skin darkening over a vein
- Vein hardening
You should see a doctor as soon as possible if experiencing these symptoms, especially if you develop a fever and chills. This indicates a more serious condition.
Am I at Risk for Superficial Thrombophlebitis?
Common risk factors include:
- Recent vein entry for an IV, catheter or injection
- Sitting or lying down for a long period of time (as with a long flight)
- Varicose veins
- Pregnancy, when blood volume in the body increases
- Certain disorders that heighten the likelihood of blood clotting
- Medications that contain hormones, like oral birth control and hormone replacements
- Being over the age of 60
- A recent stroke or injury
Treatment for Superficial Thrombophlebitis
In many cases, patients treat superficial thrombophlebitis at home with the aid of their doctor’s instructions. Treatment may involve
- A warm compress on the affected area
- Elevation of the limb to reduce swelling
- Compression stockings to encourage proper circulation
- Over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
The condition typically improves within two weeks, although it may take longer for the affected vein to feel like normal.
If the patient has varicose veins, more involved treatment may be necessary. EVLT or stripping and ligation will remove the vein and prevent it from causing future problems. Those with varicose veins are also more likely to see superficial thrombophlebitis return in the future.
Set up a treatment plan with Dr. Muasher to keep superficial thrombophlebitis under control. Learn more about how you can prevent future blood clots and varicose veins by scheduling an assessment today.