Mechanical Thrombectomy: Blood Clot Extraction

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Blood clots inside your body can block blood vessels and stop blood from flowing. That can be a life-threatening emergency. Fast, effective treatment is important. A mechanical thrombectomy can clear out blood clots from your arteries and veins.

What Is It?

Mechanical thrombectomy gets blood flowing again when a blood clot blocks a vessel. The faster you get treatment, the better the outcome. The goal is to have the procedure within 6 hours of showing symptoms.

Mechanical thrombectomies can treat:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE)
  • Stroke
  • Lack of blood flow to the gut (acute mesenteric ischemia) or legs (acute lower extremity ischemia)

Mechanical Thrombectomy at UVA Health

During this surgery, we put a small device into your blood vessels. We guide the device to where you have a blood clot. Mechanical thrombectomy is less painful than other types of blood clot removal surgery.

We start with a small cut (called an incision) at either your leg or neck. This gives us access to an artery or vein. Using a small plastic tube called a catheter, we put a tiny net-like device into your blood vessel. We find the clot and insert the device into it. The device grabs the clot. We then pull the device and clot out.

How long you'll need to stay after the procedure and your amount of recovery time depends on your overall health.

After Your Mechanical Thrombectomy

During your recovery, call your care team if you any of these:

  • Bleeding
  • Problems speaking clearly
  • Weakness or numbness on one side
  • Light-headedness or problems with balance
  • Trouble breathing
  • Chest or back pain
  • Pain in your left arm, neck, or jaw
  • Swelling or pain in the leg where we did the procedure