Thrombectomy is a treatment to eliminate an acute blood clot in the leg (deep vein thrombosis-DVT) or lung (pulmonary embolism-PE). A blood clot that breaks loose and travels to the lungs can be fatal. Patients are hospitalized and given medication to thin the blood (thrombolysis) in an attempt to dissolve the clot. Thrombectomy can be mechanical or operative. A mechanical thrombectomy breaks up and removes the clot with a catheter inserted into the vein. In operative thrombectomy the clot is removed from the vein through surgical incisions in the leg and vessel. Operative thrombectomy usually is reserved for extreme clotting problems unable to be treated with medication or with mechanical thrombectomy. A simple ultrasound can diagnose DVT and effective treatment can almost eliminate the risk of fatal PE. The best treatment option is prevention by risk factor identification and increased awareness.


UAB Medicine’s vascular specialists provide expert treatment of all types of circulatory conditions using a broad range of services, including medical therapy, minimally invasive endovascular procedures, and open surgical reconstruction. Our specialty-trained surgeons and physicians are leaders in their field and have excellent track records in treating some of the most complex vascular diseases and conditions. That expertise is backed by the latest and most advanced technology, facilities, and treatment options, as well as our dedication to patient-centered care. A wide range of specialists work together through the UAB Advanced Limb Preservation program to prevent the need for amputation, preserve maximum function in the lower limbs in people with peripheral artery disease (PAD), and treat associated medical conditions such as diabetes.

Our vascular experts confer extensively with each patient to determine a specific diagnosis and treatment plan based on medical history, physical exam, and a variety of non-invasive testing that includes ultrasound, Doppler with plethysmography, CT scans, and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). We also employ three-dimensional overlay fusion technology, in which pre-operative imaging is overlaid with images captured during surgery, providing greater accuracy and improved outcomes. In addition, we maintain an operating room designed specifically for vascular therapies, where we perform “hybrid” procedures that combine both open surgery and minimally invasive endovascular techniques and maximize the benefits of both.

As a major academic medical center, UAB maintains an active research program that also manages clinical trials. Our commitment to innovation and discovery often means that patients have access to advanced new treatments long before they are available to the general public.






UAB is an active participant in research and clinical trials. We encourage you to speak to your physician about research and clinical trial options and browse the link below for more information.

View Clinical Trials