What Is Phlebitis and Thrombophlebitis?

Phlebitis is inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is inflammation causing a blood clot to form and block one or more veins, usually in your legs.


Up to a fourth of all patients with varicose veins and lower extremity venous insufficiency will have an episode of clotting of a varicosity. This can be nearly invisible or can be located just underneath the skin. This condition is called acute superficial thrombophlebitis. The condition causes pain and discomfort but is usually self-limiting. It should, however, be differentiated and monitored to prevent conversion to a more serious condition of deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis involves clot migration or formation in the deep veins of the leg, a potentially life-threatening situation.

What Are Symptoms of Acute Superficial Thrombophlebitis?

Symptoms of acute superficial thrombophlebitis include pain, tenderness, increased warmth, swelling, hardening of the overlying skin and inflammation in the area of the thrombosis.

How Is Acute Thrombophlebitis Diagnosed?

A lower extremity ultrasound which is readily available at Precision VIR will help diagnose the condition quickly and accurately.

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Anyone suspected of having acute thrombophlebitis should be evaluated by a physician as soon as possible. The focus would be to exclude a clot involving the deep venous system (DVT). After exclusion of the more serious DVT condition, your Precision VIR doctor can make recommendations to treat superficial thrombophlebitis conservatively with therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and close follow-up.

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