Ileofemoral Vein Stenosis and Weight Loss

At NYC Surgical Associates, hear about Ileofemoral Vein Stenosis after weight loss very often. Did you know it can be due to vascular causes? Typically, a patient will have lost 30lbs or more, prior to this problem manifesting.

Understanding Ileofemoral Vein Stenosis

First, an understanding of basic anatomy and physiology is imperative. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry oxygen rich blood, and transport it from the heart to the various parts of the body to deliver it to tissues, including the legs. Most patients have no problems with arteries after weight loss. Veins are the blood vessels that return the blood to the heart from the tissue, after oxygen has been delivered, and this is where the problems after weight loss come in.

Fat is present in many areas of our body, and in certain areas, specifically in the abdomen and pelvis, a healthy amount of fat helps maintain the normal spatial relationships of organs and blood vessels.

Arteries are larger, thicker, and hold far more pressure than veins do. Average arterial pressure is approximately 100mm of mercury. Veins, on the other hand, are very fragile, thin walled, and dependent on muscle contraction to return blood to the heart. Average vein pressure is 5-10mm of mercury. Why is this important? When patients lose a large amount of body weight, they lose fat from all areas of the body, including from the face, which leads to a “hollow” appearance in some cases, and inside the body cavities, including the areas where fat helps keep a healthy distance between arteries and veins. When this fat is lost, and the arteries are allowed to come into close proximity of veins, typically, the artery, being much more pressurized and thick, will compress the vein, creating a narrowing.

When veins are narrowed, due to the artery being more close than normal, the low pressure vein cannot circulate the blood it was able to previously to the heart as well as it did in the past, leading to blood pooling most often in the legs, but this problem can happen in the arms as well, more rarely.

Blood pooling in the legs causes a wide variety of symptoms, including burning, swelling, cramping, numbness, and tightness, and may even cause varicose veins. Cramping is a natural response to blood pooling in the legs, and is an attempt at the body to “pump” the blood pooling in the leg by a muscle contraction towards the heart.

Treating Ileofemoral Vein Stenosis

This problem is extremely common, but may not be the only contributing factor to your symptoms, especially in patients who have had bariatric surgery, as other issues such as vitamin and mineral deficiencies can also play a part, but a simple diagnostic test called a “venogram” is a very low risk and accurate procedure able to be performed to diagnose, and even treat this problem without an incision and minimal downtime.

Learning  More about Treating Ileofemoral Vein Stenosis

Contact NYC Surgical Associates today to speak with one of our specialists.