Superficial thrombophlebitis is thrombophlebitis involving a superficial vein. It may be occur as an isolated event at one site, or it may involve multiple different sites over time.


Localized variants: Mondor’s disease (thrombophlebitis of subcutaneous veins of the breast)


Cliinical Features:

(1) tender, erythematous skin nodules

(2) linear distribution along a superficial vein

(3) nodules become firm and indurated over several days


Superficial migratory thrombophlebitis (thrombophlebitis migrans) is recurrent superficial thrombophlebitis, affecting different superficial veins.


Conditions associated with superficial migratory thrombophlebitis:

(1) visceral malignancy (especially pancreas, lung or stomach) as Trousseau’s syndrome

(2) thromboangiitis obliterans

(3) Behcet’s disease

(4) Factor 12 deficiency


Histologic features:

(1) The vein affected is a superficial vein at the junction of the dermis and subcutaneous tissue or within the subcutaneous fat.

(2) There is inflammation across all layers of the vessel wall (transmural) with minimal extension into adjacent soft tissue.

(3) A luminal thrombus is present or in the process of being resorbed.

(4) Giant cells may appear during the resorption stage.


Differential diagnosis:

(1) Inflammation of small and medium arteries indicates another process such as polyarteritis nodosa.

(2) Extension of inflammation into adjaent fat (panniculitis) indicates either a mixed process or another diagnosis.

(3) lymphangitis spread in sporotrichosis or other infectious disease


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