The purpose of therapeutic phlebotomy is to withdraw a certain quantity of a person’s blood to reduce iron overload due to conditions such as hemochromatosis and polycythemia. Therapeutic phlebotomy is the same procedure used for blood donation, the difference is how often and the quantity of blood removed. Your doctor will determine how often you need phlebotomy based on your lab values. Your provider will write a prescription for phlebotomy and additional labs will be monitored to determine ongoing treatment.
Therapeutic phlebotomy is continued until the desired lab values for ferritin are achieved. Depending on the underlying diagnosis, maintenance phlebotomy may be needed.
During phlebotomy a venipuncture is performed in the large vein in the arm, blood is collected in a bag.The procedure typically takes 10-15 minutes and is very well tolerated.