Mechanical Thrombectomy

Know the Facts About Mechanical Thrombectomy

A Mechanical Thrombectomy is a minimally invasive endovascular technique used under image guidance to remove a thrombus or blood clot from a vein or artery. By accessing the blood clot through a small puncture site, the surgeon maneuvers a specialized catheter (small tube) to the site of the blockage to remove the clot. The procedure can restore blood flow to vital organs and can greatly reduce the risk of disability if performed promptly.

Who should not have a Mechanical Thrombectomy?

You might not be a candidate for a thrombectomy if you have:

  • A blood clot that can be treated with medication
  • A blood clot in a very small vessel
  • A blood clot that is hard to reach
  • Any bleeding in the brain
  • A chronic clot that has been present for more than 30 days

The Procedure

In the operating room, you will receive medication to keep you comfortable and help you stay still during the procedure. Numbing medication will be administered to the skin at the catheter insertion site (usually in your neck, groin, arm or behind your knee). The surgeon uses a continuous X-ray to safely navigate the catheter to the site of the clot. The device located inside of the catheter can then capture the clot and remove it from your body. In some cases, a stent (small cage) may need to be placed where the clot was to help support the walls of the vein or artery. The faster you get treatment the better the outcome, and the lesser chance of the clot embolizing (moving to another part of the body).

After the procedure, the catheter is removed and, to prevent bleeding, manual pressure is applied or a special plug is put in place. As long as there are no other medical issues to address, most patients go home the next day.

Barring any condition that would make it unsafe, anticoagulants (blood thinners) are given after the procedure. You may be on these for three-to-six months or longer, if necessary.

Risk Factors & Complications

  • Bleeding
  • Blood clot moving to another area of your body
  • Allergic reaction to the medication or dye
  • Kidney damage from the dye
  • Damage to the blood vessel

Your practitioner will review possible risk factors and complications with you before you have the procedure. You will then be asked to sign a consent form that states you understand the procedure, the risks and complications.

When to call your provider after the procedure

  • Chest pain
  • Warmth or drainage from the catheter site or worsening pain
  • Swelling at the catheter site
  • Nausea or vomiting that continues to worsen
  • Recurrence of the initial symptoms you had prior to this procedure

Why Stony Brook?

Our vascular surgeons specialize in endovascular techniques to provide fast and effective treatments that lead to better outcomes. We offer cutting-edge technology that enables our vascular surgeons to choose the best treatment options for our patients.

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