As of the latest update, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge have made a breaking change to how file uploads are handled. Once your system installs this update, you will not be able to upload new images. Please use another browser until we can get it fixed.

Superficial thrombophlebitis

Superficial thrombophlebitis, also called superficial venous thrombosis (SVT), is a pathological condition characterized by the presence of a thrombus in the lumen of a superficial vein, accompanied by inflammatory reaction of adjacent tissues.

Some authors, however, reserve the term superficial venous thrombosis to the situation when there is thrombosis of a superficial vein without any associated inflammatory component 3.

Typically presentations include:

  • tender erythematous areas overlying a superficial vein
    • may be warm to touch
    • there may be palpable mass and surrounding edema
  • visible distension of the vein proximal to the thrombosis
  • there may be signs of chronic venous disease: visible varicosities, skin pigmentation, or palpable cords

Like deep vein thrombosis (DVT), its occurrence is also related to the Virchow's triad.

There are a large number of potential causes which does overlap with the causes of DVT 4:

  • varicose veins (most common)
    • morphological changes that predispose to stasis and consequently to the development of thrombotic process
  • prolonged immobilization
  • surgery/trauma
  • obesity
  • hypercoagulable states, e.g. factor V Leiden thrombophilia 5
  • oral contraceptive use
  • past history SVT or DVT
  • intravenous cannula use
  • malignancies (see: Trousseau syndrome)
  • autoimmune disease
  • inflammatory conditions, in particular, Behcet disease and Buerger disease
Share article

Article information

rID: 19801
System: Vascular
Section: Gamuts
Tag: veins
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Superficial venous thrombosis
  • SVT
  • Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT)
  • Superficial vein thrombosis
  • Superficial venous thrombophlebitis
  • Superficial vein thrombophlebitis (SVTP)

Support Radiopaedia and see fewer ads

Cases and figures

  •  Case 1
    Drag here to reorder.
  •  Case 2
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 3
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Case 4
    Drag here to reorder.
  • Updating… Please wait.

     Unable to process the form. Check for errors and try again.

     Thank you for updating your details.