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What are the Different Types of Phlebitis Treatment?

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  • Written By: M. West
  • Edited By: E. E. Hubbard
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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Phlebitis, sometimes called thrombophlebitis, refers to the swelling of a vein usually in the leg, resulting from a blood clot. Phlebitis treatment for a vein just under the skin, referred to as superficial phlebitis, may include the application of heat, leg elevation, and a nonprescription, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine. Treatment for superficial or deep vein phlebitis may involve blood-thinning medicine, clot-dissolving medicine, and support stockings. In some cases, surgical intervention may be necessary and might include filter insertion, varicose vein stripping, or bypass surgery. Another treatment option is a nonsurgical technique known as angioplasty.

Superficial vein phlebitis treatment may call for the application of a warm, wet washcloth to the affected area in order to provide moist heat. This may serve to reduce pain and swelling. The use of a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen will also help with the associated pain and inflammation. Propping up the affected leg with pillows can help the fluid drain down, thus reducing swelling.

Sometimes stronger measures are required for deep phlebitis treatment. Deep vein phlebitis may necessitate taking a blood thinner medication for several months to keep the blood clots from becoming larger. Another option is a clot-dissolving medicine such as alteplase. This medication is used for phlebitis cases affecting a larger area, or for phlebitis instances where the patient also has a lung blood clot. Support stockings can deter reoccurring episodes of the swelling and minimize complications in the legs.

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Surgical phlebitis treatment may sometimes be needed, particularly if the patient is unable to tolerate blood-thinning medication. A filter may be implanted into the main abdominal vein in order to keep blood clots from entering the lungs. The doctor may choose varicose vein stripping, which is a procedure involving the removal of a large varicose vein. Bypass surgery may be needed to treat a blockage that doesn't respond to other treatment. Another option is a nonsurgical technique called angioplasty, which involves the insertion of a tube to maintain blood flow in the vein.

Lifestyle measures can be employed to prevent a blood clot from forming in a vein and causing phlebitis. Inactivity or staying seated for long periods can increase the risk. During air flights, take periodic walks up and down the cabin, and, during long car trips, stop now and then to walk around. If staying seated is unavoidable, exercise your ankles and legs 10 times each hour. On long trips, refrain from wearing anything tight around the waist and drink lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.

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