Brandon Ingram – Deep Venous Thrombosis Update

The young Lakers forward was shut down for the season last week after a mysterious sore shoulder issue was identified as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) – a serious condition caused by a blood clot that usually occurs in the legs and in populations aged 40 and older. Ingram has now undergone successful thoracic outlet decompression surgery in his right arm on Saturday which has created better blood flow in his upper body. It’s reported that he could return to practice within two months and then resume full basketball activities within two months after that.

This is incredible news for Ingram who was playing the best basketball of his three-year career prior to his injury. In the past week, there has been uncertainty surrounding Ingram’s condition following the premature retirements of Chris Bosh and Mirza Teletovic due to blood clot issues in recent years.

DVT is a condition where blood clots form in the deep veins (the veins that we can’t visibly see through the skin) which can disrupt or block the flow of blood. Usually, DVT is a serious risk for long-distance travellers who remain immobile whilst sitting down and is generally reported to occur in the lower limbs.

DVT is rarely reported to occur in the arms. Ingram’s rare condition has now been determined to be a less serious form of DVT that is linked to the makeup of his body structure, rather than the makeup of his blood. This means, with the decompression surgery, his body is unlikely to produce more clots as the body structures that caused the condition have been operated on.

Ingram’s thoracic outlet decompression surgery affects similar structures that are related to Markelle Fultz’s condition (Thoracic Outlet Syndrome) but the pathologies are not related. For Ingram, he will be required to take blood thinners for one to two months and then he can return to practice.

Upper limb DVT is reported to have an extremely low recurrence (1.6%) for an otherwise healthy adult such as the former Duke standout so this issue looks to be behind him.

CDC, 2019. Venous Thromboembolism.
Martinelli et al., 2004. Risk factors and recurrence rate of primary DVT of the upper extremities.

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