May-Thurner Syndrome

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What Is May-Thurner Syndrome?

May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), or Iliac Vein Compression Syndrome, is a health condition which causes swelling of the left leg.

May Thurner Syndrome Diagram

Cause of May-Thurner Syndrome

MTS is caused when the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein. The iliac artery is located near the pelvis and carries nutrient-rich blood from the heart to the back and other areas of the body. The iliac vein is located in the abdomen. Its role is to drain blood from the pelvis and lower limbs. When the iliac artery compresses the iliac vein, it restricts the blood flow out of the left leg, causing swelling. While MTS may not cause immediate harm, it can lead to the development of more serious conditions like Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is a blood clot which causes partial or full vein blockage.

How is May-Thurner Syndrome Diagnosed?

May-Thurner syndrome most commonly occurs in women ages 20 to 40. The chances of developing MTS is higher after pregnancy or long periods of inactivity. 

Unfortunately, MTS does not usually have any warning signs or symptoms. To know if you have MTS, a doctor will need to complete a physical exam and may need to perform ultrasounds, CT scans, or an MRI. The most common sign that you have May-Thurner Syndrome is the development of DVT.

DVT common symptoms are:

  • Swelling in the leg
  • Affected area is warm to the touch
  • Skin redness on the legs
  • Pain or tenderness in your lower body, such as a cramp

If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain, or blood-producing cough, you must seek immediate help. These symptoms could be an indicator of ongoing pulmonary embolism (PE), a blood clot which forms in the lungs.

May-Thurner Syndrome Treatment at USA Vein Clinics

Our treatment is non-surgical and is performed in our outpatient clinics. Treatment for May-Thurner Syndrome involves inflating the vein so that it widens and increases blood flow. After the vein is widened, a stent (mesh-like tube) is permanently placed in the vein to keep it open. This treatment effectively treats MTS by leaving the vein open for efficient venous drainage from the left leg.

We encourage you to schedule an appointment online today to receive the diagnosis and treatment you need to have healthy veins.

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