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Interventional Radiology IVC Filter Clinic

Contact Information

Please call the Interventional Radiology IVC Filter Clinic to arrange a consultation.

(608) 263-9729, option 3

 

Location

University Hospital

UW Health in Madison, Wisconsin, is pleased to offer the expert care you need related to your inferior vena cava (IVC) filter.

 

UW Health's interventional radiologists are among the few in the region who are specially trained to remove IVC filters using complex endovascular techniques. Our state-of-the-art equipment, techniques and knowledge give us an advantage with successful filter retrieval regardless of complexity, including laser-assisted retrieval for the most difficult cases.

 

Customized Patient Care

 

Every patient has a unique medical history. Our team plans and tailors treatment for each individual patient. Our interventional radiology team looks forward to meeting with you to discuss how to best manage your IVC filter.

 

Overview

The inferior vena cava (IVC) is the main vessel returning blood from the lower half of the body to the heart and lungs. A pulmonary embolism, a blood clot that travels from the veins in the lower body to the lungs, can be life-threatening.

 

An IVC filter is a medical device that is inserted in a patient's vein to prevent blood clots in the lower body from traveling to the lungs.

 

Many patients have had a filter placed in the IVC as a temporary measure to prevent blood clots in the legs from traveling to the lungs. When the filter is no longer needed, prompt removal is desired to avoid serious health complications. The filter can shift in position, penetrate through the vein and enter nearby organs or pieces may break off and travel through the veins to other organs.

 

Over time, having an IVC filter may increase your risk of developing new blood clots at or below the filter. For these reasons, it is important to determine whether your IVC filter should be removed and to arrange for filter removal if indicated.

Candidates For IVC Filter Removal

Individuals who have a filter in place that is no longer needed are candidates for IVC filter removal. Our interventional radiology team will review your records and meet with you to determine whether you are a candidate for this procedure. It is very likely that we can successfully remove your IVC filter with our advanced techniques even if the filter has been in place for a very long time and even if attempts have already been made to remove the filter in the past.

What to Expect

At your initial 60- to 90-minute consultation, we will evaluate any potential complications related to your IVC filter, and whether it is appropriate to remove. Our assessment will also include a complete evaluation of your medical history, available imaging and previous lab work. To plan the appropriate treatment, we may request new imaging or lab work.

 

We will guide you through the decision-making process. If it is determined that the best option is for you to have your filter removed, we will discuss the best time to undergo the procedure with you.

 

The removal of the filter can be done with light sedation. In a few cases, anesthesia may be required. The procedure will be performed by the interventional radiologist and will involve a small puncture to a vein in your leg and/or neck. The procedure can take approximately one to four hours, depending on your general health and the complexity of the IVC filter removal. In rare cases, overnight observation may be required.

 

Recovery time is about two days to return to baseline activities. You will likely feel some discomfort for a 48- to 72-hour period after the procedure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question

Response

What can I expect at my initial visit in the IVC Filter Clinic?

Our clinic services include consultation, patient education, scheduling and coordination of any additional exams or procedures and follow-up as needed. We will assist you in managing any issues related to your IVC filter.

Do I need a referral to be seen in this specialty clinic?

You can call us directly to schedule an initial consultation. Our office will assist you in verifying insurance coverage. Please contact your insurance or HMO provider to verify that you are able to see a provider at UW Health Radiology Clinic. Your primary care provider may call our clinic to arrange a consultation.

What if someone has already tried to remove my filter in the past?

In the vast majority of cases, we are able to remove your filter even if somebody has already tried, but was unsuccessful. We employ advanced techniques and devices to remove filters that cannot be removed by standard methods.

Can I still get the filter out if it has been in for a really long time?

Yes, we can remove IVC filters that have been in for a long time. There is no time limit or cutoff. In fact, many filters that have been in place for more than a decade have been successfully removed.

Will this procedure require an overnight stay?

Most patients are able to undergo this procedure in the outpatient setting. An overnight stay may be required in some cases, so we can monitor you more closely after the procedure.

How long will it take me to recover from this procedure?

Most patients will be able to return to their usual activities the day after the procedure.

How is this procedure done? 

The procedure is often performed with moderate sedation, although general anesthesia may be used. One or two small (< 1 cm) incisions are made in the neck and/or groin through which we introduce small devices into the veins to capture and remove the filter. At the end of the procedure, the devices are removed and small bandages are placed on the incisions.

Who can I call to arrange an initial appointment? 

Call our Radiology Department at (608) 263-9729, option 3, to speak with one of our Interventional Radiology schedulers.

Patient Testimonials

"I appreciate so much the care that I received as a patient at UW Health Radiology. The interventional radiologist and his team helped my husband and me to understand the evaluation process and the procedure to retrieve an IVC filter that had been placed in me several years ago. It was a scary time for me, but the staff made sure that all of my questions were answered, and took the time to make sure I felt comfortable before going into the procedure. It was a success and afterward, the staff followed up to make sure that I was doing alright. I would highly recommend UW Health Radiology if you need to have a similar procedure done." - Mary Beth

 

"I received outstanding care at UW Health Radiology for the removal of my broken IVC filter. I was alerted to a potential problem of pieces of IVC filters breaking off and moving to other areas of the body through a TV commercial. To avoid potential issues, I went to UW Health to get it checked out. After undergoing an X-ray, Dr. Laeseke, the nurse practitioner, and my healthcare team took time to review my situation, explain the procedure and discuss my results. My IVC filter was successfully removed. UW Health Radiology is a great place to get information and care." – Mary

Patient Consultations

To explore IVC filter management options, please call the Interventional Radiology IVC Filter Clinic at (608) 263-9729, option 3. During an initial phone call, our clinical staff will gather information related to your IVC filter and arrange an initial consultative visit with our team. The initial office visit will take approximately 60-90 minutes.

Your Care Team

Insurance Coverage

Contact your insurance provider for specific benefit information.

IVC Filter Diagram

Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) Filter