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Inferior Vena Cava (Ivc) Filter Removal

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 4, 2022.

Why does my IVC filter need to be removed?

An IVC filter is usually removed when the risk for a blood clot has decreased. You may be able to take blood thinner medicine and no longer need a filter.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

  • Your healthcare provider will tell you how to prepare. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. Arrange to have someone drive you home when you are discharged.
  • Tell your provider about all medicines you currently take. He or she will tell you if you need to stop any medicine for the procedure, and when to stop. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of the procedure.
  • You may need blood and urine tests before your procedure. These tests show how well your kidneys are functioning and your blood is clotting. You may also need x-rays or an ultrasound.

What will happen during IVC filter removal?

  • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. You may instead be given medicine to keep you relaxed and sleepy and local anesthesia to numb the area.
  • Your healthcare provider will insert a catheter (thin plastic tube) into a blood vessel in your neck or groin. He or she will use an ultrasound or x-ray to guide the catheter to the IVC in your abdomen. The filter has a small hook or knob on one end. The catheter will attach to the filter, remove it from the walls of your IVC, and pull it into the catheter.
  • The catheter and the filter will be pulled out together. Your healthcare provider will press firmly on the area where the catheter went in, to stop any bleeding. After a few minutes, he or she will put a bandage over the area.

What will happen after IVC filter removal?

  • You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. When your healthcare provider says it is okay, you may be able to go home or taken to your hospital room.
  • You may be able to return to your usual activity in 24 hours if the filter was inserted in your neck.
  • Do not drive for 24 hours or lift anything heavy for 48 hours if the filter was inserted in your groin.

What are the risks of IVC filter removal?

You may bleed more than expected or develop an infection. Your IVC and the tissue around it may be damaged during the procedure. Your healthcare provider may not be able to remove your filter because it has changed position. You may need another procedure to remove your filter.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.