What are the risks of vein stents?
Most procedures and medical interventions don’t come without risks or complications, which includes vein stenting.
About Vein Stents
Vein stenting is a procedure that places a metal tube-like structure within the vein to keep the vein open and allow for appropriate blood flow. This procedure is commonly performed on the heart, but is also performed routinely on the veins in the legs. Let’s explore what type of venous conditions may require a stent and how the stents are placed in order to understand the possible complications.
Why would a patient need a vein stent?
There are several different conditions that may cause narrowing of the veins, or clot formations, for which stenting is a good treatment option to resume blood flow.
1. Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) is a condition in which clots form within the veins, most commonly in the legs. Based on the size and location of the clots, a stent may be placed in order for blood to flow around the clot, while medications are used to shrink and resolve the clot. DVTs can damage the veins, which may lead to scarring or narrowing of the vein in a condition called post-thrombotic syndrome.
Video: About DVT
2. Other syndromes that can cause compression of veins due to disease within the arteries are May-Thurner syndrome and Nutcracker syndrome.
Lastly, for those that have kidney failure and have an arterio-venous fistula for hemodialysis can sometimes experience narrowing in the vein, by which a stent may resolve the narrowing.
Video: About May Thurner Syndrome
About the Vein Stenting Prodcedure
Stents are typically placed in an out-patient setting, in which the patient is able to go home the same day of the procedure. The procedure is minimally invasive and a small incision is placed into the vein. A special catheter with a balloon is placed in the vein to temporarily open the vein for the stent to be placed. Once the stent is in place, the catheter is removed from the vein and a dressing is placed.
Complications of Vein Stenting Include:
Stenting is a rather safe procedure in experienced hands - but still comes with possible complications. The vast majority of stents are metal.
- Some people may experience a reaction to the actual stent, although this is low with the use of metal stents.
- As the procedure is through a vein, bleeding may occur, but it is usually minimal due to this being a minimally invasive procedure.
- Due to the placement of stent within the vein, there is a chance for the development of the clot.
- With any procedure, there is a risk of infection, as there is an introduction of bacteria into the vein from the skin.
- The stent may become dislodged or migrate in the vein, moving from the area of narrowing, leading to continued symptoms of vein narrowing.
- The stenting process may also lead to failure of the stent with continued narrowing at the site of stenting.
Contact a Vascular Surgeon to Learn More
Venous stenting is a minimally invasive procedure that carries low complication rates. The complication rates are likely to further decrease over time as technology becomes more advanced. Speak with your doctor today about vein stenting and the possible complications. Always do your homework and get references for experienced surgeons prior to undergoing any intervention - the internet can be misleading.
Dr. Jose Almeida is a board certified vascular surgeon in Miami Florida, published vascular disease author and founding member of the International Vein Congress. To learn more about Dr. Almeida visit https://www.miamiveincenter.com/jose-almeida-md/.