What is a Retrievable IVC Filter?

There are two types of IVC filters that can be placed in the inferior vena cava:  a permanent IVC filters, or retrievable IVC filters. Your doctor will determine which type of filter is right for you.

Retrievable ivc filter xrayPermanent IVC Filters

Permanent IVC filters are placed in patients that have a permanent contraindication or complication to anticoagulation medications, patients that are elderly, or have a poor prognosis (survival rate of less than six months). They are permanently left in place in the inferior vena cava in the body.

Nevertheless, placement of a permanent IVC filter can be associated with a number of long-term complications. Retrievable filters are a new generation of IVC filters and represent a very attractive treatment option.  These filters may be left in place permanently, or they may be safely retrieved when they become unnecessary.

Retrievable IVC Filters

Most IVC filters are permanent, but some filters are now available that are “retrievable.” Retrievable IVC filters are usually placed in people that only have a temporary risk or cannot take their anticoagulation medications for surgery or temporary bleeding problems.

Retrievable filters are fitted with a sheath-like device that allows them to be pulled back into a catheter and removed from the body.  Historically, IVC filters that had been in the IVC for less than three weeks were considered suitable to attempt retrieval (as filters in place longer may have been overgrown by cells from the IVC wall increasing the risk of IVC injury if the filter is dislodged).  However, some filters can now be left in for prolonged periods and retrievals after a year are now being reported, since there are now newer designs, and developments in techniques.

Retrievable IVC filters include the ALN, Bard G2 and G2x, Option, Tulip and Celect filters.  If you have a retrievable IVC filter and want to speak with an IVC Filter lawyer, please contact us right away.

Temporary or retrievable filters (also called optional filters) can usually be retrieved or repositioned up to a certain point in time. With time, the filter becomes incorporated into the caval wall and may not be removable. The Cook Celect and Gunther Tulip filters are optional filters; they have retrieval kits that are used to snare the apical hooks and retrieve the filters. While removal within 30 days is typical, successful filter removal more than 1 year after implantation has been reported.