Like permanent IVC filters, retrievable IVC filters are implanted into the Inferior Vena Cava vein in order to prevent blood clots from traveling in the bloodstream into a major organ. Using a thin tube (catheter) under the guidance of X-ray imaging, the filter will be guided through a small incision into the vein. For specific candidates, this filter can be removed once it has been determined that blood clots are no longer circulating in the body.
How to Prepare for Retrievable IVC Filter Placement
- Your interventional radiologist will schedule a consultation before a procedure is done in order to learn more about your medical history.
- You should arrive 2-4 hours before your procedure in order to have image testing done to determine the location of the clots, as well as blood tests so your interventional radiologist can determine how your blood is clotting.
- Make note of any allergies or medication you are currently taking.
What to Expect
- This procedure will be completed within one hour.
- During this procedure, you will be heavily sedated, but conscious (twilight anesthesia). Anesthesia is administered through an intravenous line in the arm.
- A small incision will be made on the skin, which will be numbed, and a catheter will be fed into this while your interventional radiologist uses imaging technology to reach the vein.
- The filter is placed, and will begin blocking blood clots from entering the bloodstream.
- For select patients who have reduced amounts of clotting and are responding to treatment for related conditions (such as DVT), the filter will be removed through an identical process in which a catheter with a small hook will be inserted and latched onto the filter, after which it can be retrieved from the vein.
- The incision will be covered, and does not require stitches.
What to Expect after Retrievable IVC Filter Placement
- After the initial procedure, you will recover in a few hours, and be able to return to normal activities within 24-48 hours.
- Your interventional radiologist will work with you to schedule a follow up appointment to see how you are responding to treatment.
- Your IR will follow up with you after the filter has been removed to make sure no more clotting is occurring within the bloodstream. Your primary care physician or referring physician may prescribe additional medication.
For More Information
For more information on retrievable IVC filters, or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiologist, please call 847.570.2638.