At North Orlando Surgical Group, we are proud to have established a unique surgical practice characterized by superior skills and extraordinary services both to the patient we care for as well as their referring physicians. We are recognized in Central Florida for our ability to perform complex procedures in the least invasive way. Our attentive staff is focused on providing the highest level of personal services and are committed to making every patient’s surgical experience as comfortable and convenient as it can be.
Inferior vena cava filters, or IVC filters, are devices that are placed in the inferior vena cava to protect your lungs from pulmonary emboli. Pulmonary emboli occur when a clot forms in the legs. This is called a deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. The clot can then travel to the lung causing a pulmonary embolism. This is a very serious condition that can lead to lung injury or even death. The symptoms of a pulmonary embolism can include shortness of breath and chest pain.
The symptoms of a deep venous thrombosis can include swelling and pain in one leg and not the other. Some possible causes of deep venous thrombosis are:
• Long periods of illness/injury causing inactivity
• Recent surgery, such as knee replacement
• Long distance travel preventing a patient from walking
• Clotting disorders
• Taking Birth control pills
A patient with a history of developing deep venous thrombosis may be advised that they would benefit from having an IVC filter placed. The purpose of this filter is to act as a barrier to prevent clot from traveling to the pulmonary arteries. You may be prescribed anticoagulant therapy, or blood thinners, for a period of time. If you have a clotting disorder this therapy may be permanent.
The procedure is considered minimally invasive, and can be done as an outpatient, meaning you will be allowed to return home when the procedure is done. An incision is made in the groin to access the femoral vein. Once the vein is visualized a small incision is made in the vein to position the filter. The filter is placed under fluoroscopic guidance into the vein and then up into the inferior vena cava. It is generally deployed just below the level of the renal veins. Once in place the catheter is removed. The incisions are so small that only a bandaid is needed. You may be asked to lay still for a period of time to ensure there is no bleeding from the incision in the veins. When you are clear to be discharged home you will be given instructions to call the office for a follow up in four weeks. You are generally clear to resume full activities the next day.
IVC filters have been a blessing for patients with a history of deep venous thrombosis or a pulmonary embolus, especially for patients with a genetic clotting disorder. It is important to place yourself in the care of a surgeon with experience in placing these devices. If you have been advised that you would benefit from an IVC filter call our office today!