Buerger's Disease

Buerger's Disease: What You Need To Know

Buerger's disease, also known as thromboangiitis obliterans, is a rare disorder where the veins and arteries of the limbs become inflamed and thicken, blocking blood flow. It typically affects adolescents and young adults, typically between the ages of 20–40. It is most common in developing countries and is rare in Caucasians.

The exact cause of Buerger’s disease is unknown, but smoking and a genetic predisposition to the condition appear to be contributing factors. The condition is most often seen in areas where smoking is prevalent.

Buerger’s disease affects the extremities, mostly the legs, and can cause problems with movement. Symptoms vary but can include:

  • Pain or cramping in the hands and feet (particularly while walking or in cold weather)
  • Numbness of the extremities
  • Coldness and a pale appearance in the affected area
  • Tingling or burning sensation
  • Skin ulcers and wounds that heal slowly or not at all
  • Gangrene (tissue death) in the extremities

Diagnosis and Treatment of Buerger’s Disease

Buerger’s disease can be diagnosed through a physical examination, and imaging tests such as an X-ray, MRI, or ultrasound can help determine the extent of the blockage. A blood test may also be performed to rule out other conditions.

The primary treatment for Buerger's disease is quitting smoking. This is the most important part of managing the condition and can help reduce symptoms, improve blood flow, and reduce the risk of complications. Treatment typically involves quitting smoking and long-term management with medications. Antiplatelet drugs such as aspirin may be prescribed to reduce the risk of blood clots.

In more severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove damaged or dead tissue and improve blood flow. Minimally invasive techniques, such as angioplasty or stenting, may also be used to restore circulation. In rare cases, amputation may be required.


Buerger’s disease is a rare disorder caused by inflammation of the veins and arteries of the limbs. Risk factors include smoking and a genetic predisposition to the condition. Symptoms vary but typically include pain, numbness, and ulcers. Treatment typically involves quitting smoking and long-term medical management. Surgery may be necessary in more severe cases.