Swelling of the Leg Treated by Vascular Specialists at Mercy

Mercy vascular surgeon Dr. Alain Tanbe discusses diagnosis and treatment for swollen legs.

The doctors at The Vascular Center at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, diagnose and treat a variety of circulatory system disorders. Our vascular specialists can help determine the cause of common conditions such as swelling in the legs and develop treatment plans to address individual patient needs.

About the Condition

Leg swelling can occur for a number of reasons including fluid buildup, infection, injury, joint or tissue conditions or a blood clot. The swelling can include the feet, ankles, calves and thighs.  Many cases of leg swelling are often harmless and a primary care physician can easily identify and treat the problem.  Some cases, however, indicate a more serious problem such as heart disease or kidney failure. Circulatory disorders, such as lymphedema or phlebitis, may also be the cause of leg swelling.

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Symptoms & Diagnostic Process

Symptoms of leg swelling may include the following:

  • Swelling of the feet, ankle, calves or thighs
  • Redness
  • A thumping, painful feeling in the legs

Leg swelling can be caused by several disorders. If the diagnosis is a blood clot in the leg, vascular tests may include:

  • Blood test to determine levels of clot dissolving substance in the blood
  • A non-invasive ultrasound image of the legs to detect blood clots or blockages
  • CT or MRI scans for visual images of the legs
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Treatment Options

Leg swelling caused by a blood clot or vascular conditions can be treated simply with anti-inflammatory medication, pain medication, leg elevation and warm compresses to reduce swelling.  More severe cases may require a hospital visit with more targeted drugs, like blood thinners, to help dissolve the clot or antibiotics to cure infection. In these cases, follow-up treatment for several months will be required to monitor ongoing drug treatment.

For conditions affecting deeper veins in the legs, treatment will depend on the seriousness of the condition. It may require:

  • Antibiotics to kill infection
  • Surgery to remove the vein or bypass the clot and a transplant blood vessel
  • A filter placement in the abdomen’s main vein to prevent clots in the legs from dislodging and traveling to the lungs which can be life threatening
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Patient Stories
Vascular Center at Mercy - Baltimore MD


Having severe swelling and discomfort in her legs, Marika knew something wasn't right. Thanks to the help of Dr. Alain Tanbe, Marika is now walking comfortably.

Meet Our Doctors: Vascular Center
The Vascular Center at Mercy - Baltimore, MD
Alain Tanbe, M.D.

Dr. Alain Tanbe is a fellowship-trained vascular surgeon who treats disorders of the arteries and veins and offers comprehensive care for a broad range of vascular diseases.

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Patient Story:
Cheryl - Mercy Patient

Cheryl wears compression socks while working to help with venous insufficiency, a buildup of pressure in her legs.

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