May-Thurner Syndrome

Explore the intricacies of May-Thurner Syndrome, from its unique anatomical considerations to diagnostic methods and advanced treatment options.

What is May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS)?

May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS), also known as iliac vein compression syndrome, is a condition where the left iliac vein becomes compressed by the right iliac artery, leading to decreased blood flow and potential development of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the left leg.


MTS is typically caused by anatomical variations where the right iliac artery compresses the left iliac vein against the pelvic bone. This compression can lead to irritation, inflammation, and eventual formation of blood clots in the affected vein.


Common symptoms of May-Thurner Syndrome may include:

  • Swelling in the left leg
  • Pain or tenderness in the left leg, especially when standing or walking
  • Visible varicose veins or spider veins
  • Skin discoloration or ulcers in the affected leg
  • Increased warmth in the left leg
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the left leg


Diagnosing May-Thurner Syndrome typically involves:

  • Medical history review
  • Physical examination, including assessment of leg swelling and tenderness
  • Doppler ultrasound: To visualize blood flow and detect any compression or obstruction in the iliac veins
  • Venography: X-ray imaging with contrast dye to provide detailed images of the veins and identify any narrowing or blockages
  • Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) – specialized procedure performed at IVY Cardiovascular & Vein Center

Treatment Options

Treatment for May-Thurner Syndrome aims to alleviate symptoms, prevent complications such as DVT, and improve blood flow in the affected vein. Treatment options may include:

  • Anticoagulant medications (blood thinners) to prevent blood clots from forming or growing larger
  • Thrombolytic therapy: Medications to dissolve existing blood clots
  • Angioplasty and stenting: Minimally invasive procedures to widen the compressed vein and keep it open using a stent
  • Surgical venous bypass: Surgical rerouting of blood flow around the compressed area of the vein
  • Compression stockings: To help improve blood flow and reduce swelling in the affected leg

Lifestyle Management

Managing May-Thurner Syndrome involves adopting a healthy lifestyle and taking precautions to reduce the risk of blood clots and complications. Lifestyle management strategies may include:

  • Regular physical activity to promote blood circulation
  • Avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Practicing good leg hygiene and skincare
  • Using compression stockings as recommended by a healthcare professional


May-Thurner Syndrome (MTS) is a condition that requires proper diagnosis and management to prevent complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and improve quality of life. If you suspect you may have MTS or are experiencing symptoms, it's essential to consult with a healthcare professional for evaluation and personalized treatment recommendations.

Located in Wellington, Florida IVY Cardiovascular & Vein Center offers world-class heart and vascular care and treatment.  Our IVY league trained Cardiologist and Advanced Peripheral Vascular specialist, Dr. Rishi Panchal, will conduct a complete evaluation and provide a personalized plan of treatment.

Don’t let your {condition} go undiagnosed. Call IVY Cardiovascular & Vein Center at 561-210-9495 or request an appointment online.

Actual Before & Afters

On the left hand side you can see the occluded vein with no blood flow. The right side shows the blood flow after a vein stent is placed​.

May-Thurner syndrome is when the Iliac artery compresses the lilac Vein. The first half of this video demonstrates the use of Intravascular Ultrasound (IVUS), which shows a compressed iliac Vein. The second half of the video demonstrates improved blood flow with placement of a Vein Stent in the Iliac Vein.

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