What is phlebitis?

Phlebitis is the term used to describe the inflammation of a vein. When the source of that inflammation is a blood clot or thrombus, it becomes thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis can affect both deep and superficial veins.

Superficial phlebitis is more likely to develop in patients that have varicose veins or that have experienced vascular trauma (damage to the blood vessel wall). While superficial thrombophlebitis can be very painful, it is generally not life threatening.  Thrombophlebitis in the deep veins is a serious condition and is referred to as deep vein thrombus (DVT).

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for superficial phlebitis may be worse when your leg is lowered, such as when getting out of bed.

Symptoms of superficial phlebitis may include:

  • Obvious inflammation with a red streak along the path of the vein
  • Localized tenderness near the inflammation
  • A warm sensation associated with the inflammation
  • The skin around the vein might be itchy or swollen


How are they treated?

Quick, effective outpatient visits treat the root cause, not just the symptoms.


We treat vein issues using a stepwise approach. We start by identifying the problem with an ultrasound study of the legs. Once the bad veins are identified, we discuss the various treatment options and tell you which ones we think are the best for you.


If there aren’t any complications, superficial phlebitis can be treated with compression stocking therapy and possibly some anti-inflammatory medication. If you have a history of DVT, or if the phlebitis might spread to deep veins, you may need to take a blood thinner.

The Vein Center of Arizona offers patients a wide variety of treatment options:

Comprehensive Treatment Plan

Developing a comprehensive treatment plan follows a thorough assessment. The assessment will normally consist of a review of your venous symptoms, a visual inspection of your problems and a thorough review of your history. The assessment completed by Dr. Paul Larson, supplemented by the diagnostic ultrasound if indicated by a registered vascular technologist will aid in the process.

Conservative Management

Before seeking out a surgical or non-surgical treatment for varicose veins and other uncomfortable vein disorders, doctors may recommend conservative management techniques for patients. Conservative treatments may be required by an insurance company before other treatments can be considered.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Radiofrequency ablation (or RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals from that specific area.

Endovenous Laser Treatment

Endovenous Laser Treatment for the elimination of unhealthy varicose veins is the gold-standard for minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. They work by delivering this light energy to the tissue that is targeted with extreme precision, so as not to damage the surrounding tissue.


Sclerotherapy is the primary treatment for spider veins and small superficial varicose veins that usually appear on the legs. They less commonly appear on other parts of the body. Sclerotherapy involves the injection of a chemical solution into a targeted spider vein or a reticular vein through a very fine needle.

Foam Sclerotherapy

Foam sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive technique for men and women to eliminate unsightly varicose veins and spider veins. The procedure involves injecting a foam sclerosant in a blood vessel to close it. The blood reroutes itself through healthy veins, restoring more normal blood flow.

Ambulatory Micro-Phlebectomy

Also known as ambulatory phlebectomy, this is a procedure that can be performed in the office and is commonly performed at the time of endovenous ablation. The procedure is intended to remove larger bulging varicose veins near the skin surface.

Real Results.

See Before and After Treatment Results.

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“I can now endure intense cardio and leg workouts, and it does feel like I’ve been given a new set of legs.”

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