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May-Thurner Syndrome

If you experience swelling, pain, or tenderness in your legs, you may be suffering from May-Thurner syndrome. This condition is caused by the compression of the iliac vein by the iliac artery in the pelvis, leading to reduced blood flow from the legs to the heart. At Vascular & Interventional Partners in Scottsdale, Arizona, treatment with minimally invasive techniques can provide long-lasting relief from your symptoms and reduce your risk of experiencing blood clots and other complications associated with May-Thurner syndrome.

What Is May-Thurner Syndrome?

May-Thurner syndrome (MTS) is a condition that affects the circulation of blood in the pelvis and legs. It is also known as iliac vein compression syndrome or Cockett's syndrome.

May-Thurner syndrome occurs when the main vein in the left leg, the left iliac vein is compressed by the main artery in the right leg, the right iliac artery. Sometimes, the right iliac artery can rest on top of the left iliac vein, causing it to narrow. This reduces blood flow from the legs to the heart, which can result in blood pooling in the legs.

What Is May-Thurner Syndrome?
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Symptoms of May-Thurner Syndrome

The symptoms of May-Thurner syndrome can vary from person to person. Most people with the condition don’t have any symptoms unless it leads to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). However, since May-Thurner syndrome makes it difficult for blood to get back to the heart, some individuals may experience symptoms with DVT, such as:

  • Leg pain or cramping
  • Leg swelling
  • Tenderness
  • Skin discoloration
  • Varicose veins
  • Leg ulcers
  • Blood clots

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms within a deep vein, usually in the legs. This can stop or block blood flow in the affected vein, but the blood clot can also loosen and become lodged in the lungs, leading to a pulmonary embolism. Symptoms of DVT include:

  • Swelling in one leg (rarely both)
  • Pain, tenderness or throbbing in the affected leg
  • Skin that is red or warm to the touch
  • Enlarged leg veins
  • A feeling of heaviness in one leg
why choose VIP for May-Thurner Syndrome

Diagnosis and Management

May-Thurner Syndrome can be difficult to diagnose since it often lacks obvious symptoms. However, your doctor will start by requesting your medical history and performing a physical exam. During the exam, they will examine your legs for any signs of swelling or tenderness, as well as check your pulse, blood pressure, and circulation.

Diagnostic tests may also be used to check for narrowing or compression of your left iliac vein. This might include an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI. Another option is a venogram, which involves injecting a contrast dye into your veins that allows them to be seen on an X-ray.

Based on the results of these tests, your doctor will be able to determine if you have May-Thurner syndrome. There are several minimally invasive treatments available that focus on improving blood flow in the iliac vein, but the best option for you will depend on factors such as the severity of your condition and your overall health.

How We Treat May-Thurner Syndrome

Treating May-Thurner syndrome can improve blood flow in the affected vein and reduce your risk of developing DVT, a potentially life-threatening complication. If your condition is symptomatic, treatment can also provide relief from pain, swelling, and discomfort.

At Vascular I Interventional Partners, May-Thurner syndrome can be treated with a minimally invasive venoplasty procedure, which involves using imaging technology to insert a balloon-tipped catheter into the affected leg vein. Once in place, the balloon inflates to open the vein and restore blood flow. Then, our doctors insert a small mesh stent to keep it open.

Venoplasty and angioplasty (the same technique used to open blocked arteries, rather than veins) procedures are widely performed to treat a range of conditions, providing optimal treatment outcomes without the need for major surgery, general anesthesia or extensive downtime. However, our team will conduct a thorough examination, perform blood work and review your medical history to make sure that this treatment option is right for you.

If you are diagnosed with DVT, our doctors may also perform thrombolytic therapy (thrombolysis) to break down the blood clot before it travels throughout the body. This procedure uses a catheter to deliver clot-dissolving drugs directly into the blood clot.

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Benefits of Venoplasty for May-Thurner Syndrome

If you’ve tried compression stockings, medications, and other conservative treatments to manage your condition without success, venoplasty can provide lasting relief from your symptoms and reduce your risk of experiencing serious complications like DVT. Other benefits of venoplasty for the treatment of May-Thurner syndrome include:

  • Restores healthy blood flow in the iliac vein
  • Quick recovery and minimal downtime
  • Reduces the risk of blood clots and DVT
  • Low risk of infection or other complications
  • Minimally invasive procedure
  • Long-term success in improving blood flow

Why Choose Interventional & Vascular Partners?

As Vascular & Interventional Partners, we know that selecting an appropriate medical provider for May-Thurner syndrome is essential to achieving the best treatment outcome. Our team of skilled and experienced interventional radiologists is Arizona’s top choice for patients seeking advanced, high-quality care for their venous conditions. We blend state-of-the-art technology and minimally invasive techniques with an individualized approach to develop a treatment plan that improves your symptoms and overall quality of life.

We’ve performed countless venoplasty and angioplasty procedures to help patients find relief from their symptoms and minimize the risk of serious complications from May-Thurner syndrome and other venous or arterial conditions. If you’re interested in seeking treatment, contact or call us today at 480-435-9100 to schedule an appointment with Arizona’s leading interventional radiology division.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Who is a good candidate for May-Thurner syndrome treatment?

Good candidates for May-Thurner syndrome treatment are individuals who experience swelling, pain, or tenderness in their legs due to iliac vein compression. They should also have no contraindications to the procedure, such as bleeding disorders or active infections. To determine if you are a good candidate for May-Thurner syndrome treatment, you should schedule a consultation with one of our interventional radiologists.

What causes May-Thurner syndrome?

May-Thurner syndrome occurs when the leg’s blood vessels cross over each other in the pelvis. Some crossover of these blood vessels is normal, but when it occurs in such a way that the iliac artery compresses the iliac vein, it can cause problems such as restricted blood flow, swelling and, increased risk of blood clots. May-Thurner syndrome occurs randomly due to how your blood vessels are positioned and isn’t a genetic condition.

How long does it take to recover from May-Thurner syndrome treatment?

The recovery time from venoplasty, which is a common treatment for May-Thurner syndrome, can vary depending on the individual. As an outpatient procedure with no general anesthesia, patients can return home on the same day of treatment and resume their normal routine within 24 hours. However, there may be some activity restrictions, so it's important to follow your doctor’s post-procedure care instructions to ensure the best possible outcome.