Overview and Facts about Thrombectomy
A thrombectomy is a type of cardiac surgery that is used to remove blood clots that are trapped in veins and arteries.
Clots can prevent the normal flow of blood throughout the body and cause lifethreatening conditions, such as an acute stroke or a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in an artery in the lungs).
Typically, thrombectomies are used in the treatment of clots that may cause strokes. When blood thickens, blocking an artery, large blood clots can form. This diminishes blood flow and cuts off oxygen to the brain, damaging nearby tissue.
You may need a thrombectomy if you have a blood clot in a vein or artery, particularly in an arm or leg.
What to Expect
What to Expect during a Thrombectomy
Prior to the procedure, you will be given a general anesthetic so that you will feel no discomfort. Your surgeon will then make a small incision in your groin and insert a catheter, guiding it through the artery to the clot.
The procedure will be monitored on a specialized X-ray machine. A fine needle called a stent retriever will then be passed into the catheter. This instrument encases the clot so that the surgeon can then remove the stent and the clot simultaneously.
Once the clot has been removed, normal blood supply is restored. The surgeon will then remove the catheter and suture the incision.
After surgery, you will spend several hours in recovery while your team monitors your vital signs. Depending on your overall condition, you may need to spend a day or two in the hospital. You will be encouraged to get back on your feet again as soon as you are able.
What are the Side Effects of Thrombectomy?
After a thrombectomy, you may need to take medicine for a few days to prevent further blood clots. Compression stockings may be recommended to help prevent another clot from forming.
If you are a smoker, you should stop smoking to reduce your risk of future blood clots from forming. If you need help quitting smoking, talk to your doctor.
What are the Risks of Thrombectomy?
Risks of thrombectomy may include:
- Allergic reaction to anesthesia
- Blood clots
- Pulmonary embolism
- Severe bleeding