Inferior vena cava (IVC) filter placement is a medical procedure aimed at preventing pulmonary embolism by using a small device to stop blood clots from reaching the lungs. The inferior vena cava is a large vein responsible for carrying oxygen-poor blood from the lower body back to the heart. The IVC filter is inserted during a short surgical procedure.


The IVC filter placement procedure is employed to reduce the risk of pulmonary embolism in individuals with a history of DVT, those currently experiencing DVT, or those at high risk of developing DVT due to various factors. The IVC filter is designed to capture blood clots and prevent them from reaching the heart and lungs, thus averting pulmonary embolism.


Before the procedure, patients are advised to

  • Discuss the procedure thoroughly with their healthcare physician.
  • Sign a consent form.
  • Communicate any allergies, recent health changes, or pregnancy.
  • Inform their physician of all medications, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs.
  • Cease smoking, if applicable, to promote healing.
  • Refrain from eating or drinking after midnight on the day before the surgery.


During the IVC filter placement procedure, which typically takes about an hour, the following steps are followed

  • An intravenous (IV) line is inserted into the patient's arm or hand for sedation.
  • Hair in the procedure area may be removed, and local anesthesia may be administered.
  • A small incision is made in the neck or groin to access a major vein leading to the IVC.
  • A catheter (long, thin tube) is inserted into this vein.
  • Continuous X-rays (fluoroscopy) are used to guide the catheter into the IVC. Contrast material may be injected through the catheter to enhance visualization.
  • The IVC filter is released into the IVC, where it expands and attaches itself to the vessel walls.
  • The catheter is then removed, and the incision site is closed and bandaged.


After the procedure, patients typically spend several hours in a recovery room. Patients may experience minor discomfort, bruising at the catheter insertion site, and possibly headache or nausea, which should resolve quickly. Patients may be discharged on the same day, with instructions for at-home care. This includes rest, avoidance of strenuous activities for at least 24 hours, and taking over-the-counter pain medications as necessary. Additionally, patients are advised to arrange for transportation home from the medical facility.