How Does May Thurner Syndrome Affect Your Legs?

May Thurner Syndrome Treatment youngstown

May Thurner Syndrome is a treatable condition that impacts blood flow. It involves the blocked iliac veins that restrict deoxygenated blood from traveling back to the heart. May Thurner Syndrome causes symptoms to the legs, namely skin discoloration, heavy legs, and sometimes ulcers and varicose veins can appear. If you suspect you have May Thurner Syndrome, contact the best vascular surgeon in Youngstown, Ohio for a consultation with Dr. Schmetter. 


If you’ve never heard about May Thurner Syndrome then you probably have good blood flow. But should it be that your doctor diagnosed you with the syndrome that’s also known as Iliac Vein Compression Syndrome or Crocket Syndrome, then keep reading to find out how it can affect your legs.


What Exactly is May Thurner Syndrome? 

May Thurner Syndrome (MTS) is a condition that affects the way your blood flows in your iliac veins when the right iliac artery, which carries blood to your right leg presses on the left iliac vein that carries blood from your left leg. This pressure causes the blood to clot in a tangle and ultimately this can impact blood flow in your legs. 


What Are The Symptoms of May Thurner Syndrome?

Although some people experience no symptoms at all, some do report issues arising in the left leg, such as: 

  • Leg feels heavy
  • Ulcers may appear
  • Leg pain
  • Discoloration on the skin
  • Varicose veins may even develop (enlarged, swollen veins), find out how to treat varicose veins. 


May Thurner Syndrome restricts blood from flowing back to your heart. The body needs oxygenated blood and if this is restricted, blood clots form and this can cause another condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT has similar symptoms as May Thurner Syndrome so it’s essential that you consult with a doctor as soon as you experience any of the above symptoms. 


What Causes May Thurner Syndrome?

Iliac veins comprise the external and internal iliac veins, called Common Iliac Veins. These complex networks of veins are responsible for sending oxygen-poor blood from your lower extremities back to the heart. May Thurner Syndrome happens when the iliac veins get their wires crossed. 

In this case, the right iliac artery, which carries blood to your right leg presses on the left iliac vein that carries blood from your left leg. This pressure causes the blood to get in a tangle and ultimately impacts blood flow in your legs. 


How is May Thurner Syndrome Diagnosed?

Dr. Lawrence will begin with assessing your symptoms and if need be, will further his examination using equipment to see your blood vessels and how they are performing. He can do this with a CT scan, MRI, Venogram, or Ultrasound. He can reach a conclusive diagnosis by inserting a catheter into the blood vessels and threading an ultrasound probe. 


How Do You Treat May Thurner Syndrome?

At the heart of the May Thurner Syndrome issue is blood flow so the treatment is mainly focused on improving blood flow and reducing the risk of developing DVT.

The treatments that Dr. Lawrence might recommend the following treatments based on the severity of your condition. Treatment options can include:

  • Blood Thinner Medication: Blood thinners stop clots from growing any further. Not everyone is eligible for this treatment due to a variety of pre-existing conditions that may preclude it. 
  • Vena Cava Filter: Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer may recommend a device known as a vena cava filter. This is placed in the inferior vena cava where the iliac veins are found. The filter restores the flow of normal blood through the vein while capturing any blood clots that are en route to the lungs. Blood clots in the lings present another concerning condition called pulmonary embolism. So the filter helps to prevent further complications. 
  • Venous Thrombectomy: In severe cases, some patients may be required to undergo a procedure called thrombectomy. Thrombectomy involves a catheter that is inserted into the vein and delivers a clot-dissolving drug that restores normal flow in the veins. 


How To Improve Quality of Life with May Thurner Syndrome?

While the treatment will ensure that your condition of May Thurner will be addressed, it can help to make lifestyle choices. You can help your blood flow and improve your quality of life when you:


Speak to Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer — the Leading Vascular Surgeon of Choice in Northeast Ohio

Dr. Lawrence Schmetterer is a vascular surgeon and vein expert based in Youngstown, Ohio. With his vast expertise in veins, he can help you with the effects of May Thurner syndrome. 

To find out how to combat May Thurner Syndrome, get in touch with us today!


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