Embolectomy and Thrombectomy

ExitCare ImageAn embolectomy is the removal of an embolus. An embolus is usually a blood clot (or sometimes another small foreign object) that has traveled or moved from one place to another within the body. When a blood clot forms and stays in the same area where it is located it is called a thrombus. The removal of a thrombus is called a thrombectomy.


  • Allergies to food or medicine.

  • Medicines taken, including vitamins, herbs, eyedrops, over-the-counter medicines, and creams.

  • Use of steroids (by mouth or creams).

  • Previous problems with anesthetics or numbing medicines.

  • History of bleeding problems, blood clots, vomiting of blood, or bloody bowel movements.

  • Previous surgery.

  • Breathing problems.

  • History of ulcers, including any treatment.

  • History of hemorrhoids.

  • Recent history of trauma.

  • Heart problems or history of chest pain.

  • Other health problems, especially diabetes and kidney problems.

  • Possibility of pregnancy, if this applies.


  • Infection.

  • Bleeding.

  • Anesthetic side effects.

  • The embolus may break loose and travel to another area of the body during attempts to remove it.

  • Anytime parts of your body have been without blood for a long time, they may be damaged beyond repair. Sometimes, the tissues will swell.

  • A clot can reform in a vessel. This will require another procedure.

  • If you are elderly or in poor health, the risk of developing complications is greater.


  • Ask your caregiver if you need to arrive early before your procedure.

  • Ask your caregiver about changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicine.


This procedure is usually done with medicine that makes you sleep (general anesthetic). The location of the blood clot will help decide what type of anesthetic is used. The blood clot is located in a vessel, which can be reached with a thin tube (catheter). There are also other devices which may be used in certain circumstances. In any case, the artery involved is cut open. A catheter is placed in the artery, and the clot is either removed or destroyed. After making sure that the blood is flowing again, the cuts in the artery and skin are sewn up.


  • You will be taken to a recovery room. You may be allowed to go home after several days or as your caregiver decides.

  • You may be placed on blood thinners. Watch for bleeding from the rectum, blood in your vomit, as well as bleeding from the site of the procedure.