May-Thurner Syndrome

May-Thurner Syndrome
St. Louis Vein Experts - May-Thurner Syndrome
May-Thurner Syndrome

What is May-Thurner Syndrome?

May-Thurner Syndrome affects the iliac or femoral veins, a vascular structure containing internal and external veins that have several connections in the pelvic and abdominal region. It is caused when the left iliac or other veins are compressed beneath the right iliac or other arteries, which also increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis where there is a blockage within the veins due to a blood clot. This vascular condition can be difficult to identify because in many cases ultrasound tests along with CT or MRI testing fail to diagnose the narrowing. It is important to have this condition properly diagnosed and treated because the development of DVT can be potentially life threatening. Patients with May-Thurner Syndrome can experience multiple symptoms in their legs while others are asymptomatic. Venograms, along intravascular ultrasound [IVUS], can diagnose vein narrowing.

Symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • Sensation of increased warmth
  • Redness or discoloration
  • Enlarged veins
  • The appearance of the affected leg being larger than the other
  • Ankle skin discoloration or ulcers
  • Development of varicose veins in the pelvic area

Anyone can develop May-Thurner Syndrome, but individuals who have a medical or family history of blood clots tend to be at higher risk for this vascular condition.

How is May-Thurner Syndrome Treated?

This condition is easy to find and treat due to recent developments in diagnostic technology and medicine. A minimally-invasive procedure called an intravascular ultrasound [IVUS] is used. This means that a small, thin catheter is inserted in the veins and it shows the compression or blockages, then a balloon is inserted. Once slightly inflated, the balloon stretches and increases blood flow in affected veins. Then, a stent or a small metal mesh tube, is carefully placed inside to provide closure to the expanded vein.

What Can I Expect After Treatment?

Outcomes after treatment are generally excellent when May-Thurner Syndrome is detected before dangerous blood clots have formed. Patients experience complete recovery from all symptoms.

Renal Vein Nutcracker Syndrome

A rare condition due to compression of the left renal vein and impaired flow can cause flank pains, and blood in the urine. Therapy for Renal Vein Nutcracker Syndrome can be completed via stenting or surgery.