Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

deep vein treatment

What is deep vein thrombosis? 

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT), also known as venous thrombosis, occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in the deep veins of the body due to vein injury or sluggish blood flow. These clots can partially or completely block blood flow through the affected vein. DVTs commonly occur in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis, but can also develop in the arm, brain, intestines, liver, or kidney.

What is the danger of DVT? 

While DVT itself is not life-threatening, the clots can break loose and travel through the bloodstream, potentially causing a pulmonary embolism (PE) if they lodge in the lungs. PE is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention. Additionally, about half of people with DVT in their legs may develop post-thrombotic syndrome, characterized by chronic leg pain, swelling, and other symptoms due to valve and vein damage.

Characteristics of post-thrombotic syndrome include:

What is the difference between DVT and superficial venous thrombosis? 

Superficial venous thrombosis, also known as phlebitis or superficial thrombophlebitis, occurs when clots form in veins near the skin’s surface. These clots rarely travel to the lungs unless they move to the deep venous system. Superficial vein clots can be diagnosed through a physical exam, whereas DVT requires an ultrasound for diagnosis.

How common is deep vein thrombosis? 

In the United States, approximately 1 to 3 in every 1,000 adults develop DVT or pulmonary embolism annually, with up to 300,000 deaths resulting from these conditions each year. DVT/PE is the third most common vascular disease, following heart attacks and strokes. While acute DVT/PE can occur at any age, they are less common in children and adolescents and more frequent in those over 60. Over half of all DVT cases are linked to hospital stays due to medical illness or surgery, as extended bed rest reduces normal movement.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis? 

DVT usually forms in the veins of the legs or arms. While up to 30% of people with DVT may not show symptoms, some common signs include:

Some people only discover they have DVT when a clot moves to the lung, causing symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing blood, lightheadedness, and fainting. It’s crucial to seek immediate medical attention if you experience symptoms of DVT to prevent serious complications.

What causes deep vein thrombosis? 

Risk factors for DVT include:


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition where blood clots form in the deep veins, most commonly in the legs, posing a risk of breaking free and causing potentially fatal complications like pulmonary embolism (PE). While DVT itself is not life-threatening, its complications necessitate immediate medical intervention. Symptoms can vary from none to severe, including leg or arm swelling, pain, and redness. Many risk factors contribute to DVT, such as genetic predispositions, prolonged immobility, surgery, cancer, and certain medications. Awareness and prompt treatment are crucial in preventing severe outcomes. Recognizing the signs and understanding the risk factors can help in early diagnosis and effective management, ultimately reducing the incidence of life-threatening complications.