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Phlebitis is also known as superficial thrombophlebitis. The condition defines creation or formation of blood clots near the surface of the skin. Blood clots travel just beneath the surface of the skin and may enter deeper vein structures to create a condition called deep vein thrombosis. While not usually considered a serious condition, phlebitis often causes a number of symptoms that may warrant attention.


  • Vein injury
  • Blood clot disorders
  • Long periods of inactivity l>


    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Tenderness
    • Pain
    • Warmth over the sensitive area


    Your doctor may require a number of diagnostic tests, in addition to a general physical examination, to determine a diagnosis of phlebitis. Such tests may include but are not limited to:

    • Diagnostic blood tests to check for elevated levels of D-dimer, a blood clotting chemical in your blood
    • CT scan
    • MRI scan
    • Ultrasound


    Treatment for phlebitis focuses on improving or reducing symptoms. Treatment often includes:

    • Pain medication
    • Blood thinners if you are at risk for a deep vein thrombosis
    • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
    • Clot dissolving medications such as Activase
    • Compression stockings


    When non-surgical treatment options fail to provide adequate relief, surgery may be recommended to improve circulation. Surgery may also prevent a surface blood clot from traveling deeper into the circulatory system and causing a deep vein thrombosis. Such surgical procedures may include vein stripping or ligation.

    Most surgical procedures for phlebitis may be performed in an outpatient setting or in a hospital. Clot removal and a vein bypass may also be indicated. Sometimes, your doctor may insert a stent into a weak or damaged vein to keep it open and reduce chance of blockage or inadequate circulation.