Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of a vein close to the surface of the skin. It occurs most often in the leg. The condition is easily treatable, though it sometimes leads to more serious health concerns.
|Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.|
Superficial thrombophlebitis is caused by a blood clot in a vein that is close to the surface of the skin.
Factors that increase your chance of developing superficial thrombophlebitis include:
Superficial thrombophlebitis may cause:
- A visible, cord-like vein that is tender and sensitive to pressure; this visibility may develop over several hours to days
- Redness and warmth surrounding the vein
- Swelling around the vein
A complication of superficial thrombophlebitis is a condition called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a blood clot in the deeper veins that causes obstruction of blood flow. This can lead to pulmonary embolism , a serious situation that occurs when the blood clot breaks free and gets lodged in the lungs.
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids may be tested. This can be done with blood tests.
Images may be taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
- Venogram in which dye or contrast is injected
In most cases, superficial thrombophlebitis goes away on its own after a few weeks. Treatment can be done at home with the following:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
- Compression stockings
- Warm compress on the inflamed vein
In some cases, the following treatment may be needed:
- Blood thinning medication
- Procedures to remove the blood clot
To help reduce your chances of superficial thrombophlebitis, take these steps:
- If you fly for long periods of time, walk around the cabin and stretch your limbs every hour or so.
- If you drive for long periods of time, pull over every hour or so and stretch your limbs.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing around your waist.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration.
- Michael J. Fucci, DO
- Reviewed: 06/2015
- Updated: 05/04/2015
Please note, not all procedures included in this resource library are available at Allegiance Health or performed by Allegiance Health physicians.
All EBSCO Publishing proprietary, consumer health and medical information found on this site is accredited by URAC. URAC's Health Web Site Accreditation Program requires compliance with 53 rigorous standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audits. To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at HLEditorialTeam@ebscohost.com.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.