May Thurner Syndrome

May Thurner Syndrome is known by several names – iliocaval compression syndrome, Cockett syndrome or iliac vein compression syndrome. This affliction is an anatomical variant where the right iliac artery compressed the left iliac vein against the fifth lumbar vertebra. It causes left side vein compression by the right iliac artery which causes deep vein thrombosis in the left iliofemoral.

Symptoms of May Thurner Syndrome

Lower left leg edema and pain are the two classic symptoms. It is primarily seen in younger women twenty to forty following pregnancy or immobilization. May Thurner Syndrome is chronic. Because of this patients also tend to present pigmentation changes, varicose veins, chronic leg pain, phlebitis and skin ulcers.

It can be described in three stages:

 Stage 1 Asymptomatic iliac vein compression. Stage 2 Development of a venous spur.  Stage 3 Development of the left iliac vein DVT.


How is May-Thurner Syndrome Diagnosed?

Diagnosis is not always straight forward. Radiological evidence of compression combined with symptoms presented is key. Doppler ultrasound can detect a deep vein thrombosis in the iliac vessels. CT and magnetic imaging may also be used. Seeing a vein specialist is vital if you suspect you may have a vein issue including May Thurner Syndrome.

Is it Treatable?

Yes. Treatment is aimed at clearing out the thrombus to print post-thrombotic syndrome and to correct the initial compression of the left iliac vein. Several different surgical procedures may be used.

If left untreated a significant number of patients will develop post-thrombotic syndrome which can be debilitating.

Management of May-Thurner syndrome has evolved over the years. Endovascular therapy has become the primary treatment. With early recognition and aggressive treatment, May-Thurner syndrome is a manageable disease.


If you live in the Tampa bay area and feel
you may have vein issues such as May
Thurner Syndrome,

Click here to schedule an appointment
or call (813) 975-2800.