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Head Neck. 2011 Jul;33(7):1034-40. doi: 10.1002/hed.21571. Epub 2010 Dec 9.

Development of consensus guidelines for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis in patients undergoing microvascular reconstruction of the mandible.

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  • 1Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.



The purpose of this study was to determine how guidelines for venous thromboembolism prophylaxis can be applied to patients undergoing microsurgical reconstruction of the mandible.


Retrospective review of our institutional use of thromboprophylaxis and the associated outcomes in 114 patients (58 free fibular flaps and 56 osteocutaneous radial forearm flaps).


Twenty-two patients (19.3%) received only intermittent pneumatic compression. Overall, 80.7% received postoperative chemoprophylaxis. Sixty-four percent initiated chemoprophylaxis within 24 hours after surgery. Only 13.2% received the recommended frequency of chemoprophylaxis. One patient had development of a pulmonary embolism. Four patients undergoing chemoprophylaxis had development of neck hematomas; in each case the cause of bleeding could be attributed to a cause distinct from chemoprophylaxis.


No consistent chemoprophylaxis protocol was followed. Chemoprophylaxis was not associated with an increased risk of bleeding. Physician education is the next step in decreasing variations in chemoprophylaxis and adopting guidelines similar to The American College of Chest Physicians.

Copyright © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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