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What is the Difference Between Phlebitis and Varicose Veins?

Hi, Dr. Adam Goldman of the Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center. Here, I’m going to talk to you today about the topic of phlebitis. It sounds very distressing. However, it is not usually a dangerous condition. 

What is Phlebitis?

It is caused by a setting clotting off of the superficial veins on the leg. Usually, they are varicose veins. This can happen, either due to some trauma, or perhaps you’ve been on a long trip, or very sedentary for a long period of time, and the blood is not moving as steadily, and can now clot off and closed down that superficial vein.

Is Phlebitis Dangerous?

This is not dangerous. You do not need that vein to return blood to your heart. However, it can be uncomfortable, and often the symptoms can be pain or tenderness, sometimes a redness of the skin. If you are concerned, you should have an ultrasound done to make sure there is no other clots that are involved. However, if it is a minor, superficial vein that is closed off, the treatment is usually just symptomatic, either with warm compresses or using some type of anti-inflammatory, such as ibuprofen or Advil. And eventually, the symptoms will improve. After that, you may want to consider getting your varicose veins treated more aggressively to help prevent further episodes of phlebitis.

If you have any questions, please come see us at the Metropolitan Vein and Aesthetic Center, and we’ll be happy to help you.

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