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Mechanical Thrombectomy

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Apr 2, 2024.

What do I need to know about mechanical thrombectomy?

Mechanical thrombectomy is an emergency procedure used to remove a blood clot from a blood vessel (vein or artery). The procedure is usually done on arteries. Examples include hip and clavicle (collarbone) arteries. A clot can also be removed from a vein or artery in the brain to help prevent a stroke. Thrombectomy is usually done if other procedures did not work and the clot is at risk for causing medical problems. A clot that breaks free and travels to the lungs can cause a pulmonary embolism. A clot that travels to the brain can cause a stroke. Even if the clot does not break free, it can prevent blood flow to body areas.

Thrombus and Embolus

How do I prepare for a mechanical thrombectomy?

What will happen during the procedure?

The type of anesthesia you get will depend on where the procedure will happen. For a leg or collarbone procedure, you may be given local or spinal anesthesia to numb the area. You will not feel pain, but you may feel pressure. For a brain procedure, you may be given conscious sedation. General anesthesia may be used for any type of thrombectomy to keep you asleep and free from pain. Your surgeon will use an x-ray to find the blood clot.

What should I expect after the procedure?

You may have swelling or pain in the procedure area. Your healthcare provider may give you medicines to reduce pain or swelling. You may be able to go home soon after your procedure. You may need to stay in the hospital for up to 1 week after an intracranial thrombectomy. Your provider may have you lie still for several hours right after your procedure. Your provider may then have you walk around to help prevent another blood clot.

What are the risks of mechanical thrombectomy?

The artery may be punctured or torn. You may have a heart attack if pieces of the blood clot break off during the procedure and travel to your heart or lungs. Other arteries may become blocked. You may have heavy bleeding and swelling when blood flow is restored. A thrombectomy in a brain artery can cause heavy bleeding into your brain.

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

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