Swelling and Pain in Arm After Surgery


Q: I am hoping someone can give me some answers to my questions. I received laparoscopic gallbadder surgery last wed. The surgery went well but by friday I had swelling and redness in my left arm the same arm that I had my IV for the surgery. I wen to the ER and was told that I had a superficial Thrombophlebitis (a blood clot). That it was no big deal and that to continue with my pain meds from the surgery. It is now Monday I still have pain in my arm it is still swollen and the vein is very tight and pain full. does anyone have any sugetions.


A:   Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of the superficial veins. This condition usually resolves with the use of anti-inflammatory medications such as acetominophen or diclofenac. Symptoms usually improve within 3- 4 days. If the condition worsens, it could suggest that a complication has occurred such as an infection or deep vein thrombosis. You will need to return to the ER for an ultrasound to rule out such a complications. You should do so as soon as possible as both these complications require immediate treatment with antibiotics or blood thinners respectively.

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