Doctors in the United States implant as many as 250,000 IVC filters each year. These small, wiry metal devices are inserted laparoscopically and maneuvered into the body's longest vein—the inferior vena cava—to catch dangerous blood clots before they can cause thrombosis-related problems, such as strokes, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots in the legs), and pulmonary embolism (blood clots in the lungs).
Despite being linked to a variety of serious side effects and complications, IVC filters are a popular treatment for patients who are unable to take blood-thinning medications or for whom blood-thinning medications failed to provide results. Taking the proper precautions after an IVC filter implantation surgery may help mitigate the risks associated with the device.
Medications can play a big role in an IVC filter patient's post-op recovery. After IVC filter implantation surgery, doctors typically prescribe two types of medications: antibiotics and painkillers. The antibiotics are essential to preventing infections at the laparoscopic site or in the tissue surrounding the IVC filter itself. Your doctor or pharmacist can provide you with information on how best to take the medication you're prescribed after surgery.
While you may be in a hurry to get back into your normal routine, it's important to give yourself plenty of time to rest after your surgery. Eliminate or limit exercise, sports, and other physical activities until your doctor says it's safe to resume them.
Stress can slow the healing process but, for many patients, it's hard to avoid the stress associated with going under the knife. If you can't avoid stress entirely, make an effort to control it with deep breathing or meditation. Some patients may be tempted to combat their stress by smoking. However, smoking is yet another activity that can make it more difficult for your body to heal properly. Give up smoking if you can and talk to your doctor if you need help.
Additionally, before leaving the hospital, ask your doctor or nurses for information on how to care for your surgical wound. Avoid getting the wound wet unless you have an explicit permission from your doctor.
Most IVC filter patients aren't required to adhere to any specific dietary requirements. However, eating a heart-healthy diet after surgery may help speed the healing process. In addition to healthful eating, patients should also drink plenty of fluids to ensure they stay hydrated. Avoid carbonated or caffeinated beverages if possible, and stick with healthy beverages such as water, milk or juice.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Complications can occur after any surgery and knowing when to contact your doctor could literally save your life. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience signs of infection, including fever, chills, weakness, itching, coughing, chest pain, or difficulty breathing. You should also see your doctor if you feel faint, lightheaded, or lose consciousness; have swollen and painful extremities, or notice swelling, pus, or a lot of blood coming from the incision site.
IVC Filter Removal
Retrievable IVC filters are designed for temporary use only. However, some doctors opt to leave them in patients indefinitely. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cautions against this practice, recommending IVC filters be removed no more than 54 days after implantation. Leaving a temporary IVC filter in for too long can increase the likelihood of developing serious side effects and complications. Before leaving the hospital, talk to your doctor to ensure he or she has a removal plan that's in sync with the FDA's current guidelines for IVC filters.
Did Your IVC Filter Cause Serious Side Effects?
Even if a patient follows all the precautions after an IVC filter surgery, serious side effects and complications can still occur. Did you experience infections, device breakage or migration, or other adverse events associated with IVC filters? If so, you may have legal recourse to seek compensation from the device's manufacturer. Contact McGartland Law today to schedule a free initial appointment to discuss your potential IVC filter case.