Inferior Vena Cava Filter Removal

IVC Filter

An IVC Filter is a medical device placed in the inferior vena cava (IVC), a large vein in the abdomen. IVC filters are placed to decrease the risk of having blood clots in the legs move up to the lungs -- a life-threatening condition called pulmonary embolism. IVC filters are often used for patients who:

- Suffer from blood clots in the legs, including deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

- Will be experiencing prolonged bed rest due to surgery or trauma

- Cannot receive anticoagulation therapy for medical reasons

What are the benefits of an IVC Filter?

IVC Filter Insertion:

A minimally invasive option for patients who are not good candidates for medical therapy to prevent blood clots in the lungs. IVC filters have been shown to provide excellent protection against pulmonary embolism.


If a retrievable filter is in place, you will be enrolled in our program to help remind you to have it removed within a 3-month time frame. Retrievable IVC filters may break over time and cause complications. 

IVC removal diagram

How does the IVC procedure work?

IVC Filter Insertion:

Your interventional radiologist will make a very small skin nick in the area of the body where the filter will be inserted. Using X-ray imaging guidance, your radiologist will insert a small, flexible tube (catheter) and thread it to the blood vessel being treated. Intravenous contrast (dye) is injected to ensure appropriate sizing and location, and then the filter is inserted through the catheter. The procedure takes about an hour and you will go home the same day.


After numbing the skin at the base of your neck, a tiny skin nick no larger than the width of a fingernail is made. Your interventional radiologist will then insert a small catheter into a vein in the neck and thread it into the IVC using X-ray guidance. Contrast (dye) will also be injected into your IVC to determine the position of your filter and to determine the presence of any significant trapped clot. The filter will be retrieved using a variety of techniques with the catheter. The procedure takes about an hour and you will go home the same day.

For a consultation with our interventional radiologists, call (562) 906-5572