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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2000 Nov 15;25(22):2962-7.

Deep venous thrombosis after posterior spinal surgery.

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  • 1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, and the Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Osaka Prefectural Hospital, Osaka, Japan.



A prospective clinical study using venography to evaluate deep venous thrombosis after posterior spinal surgery.


To demonstrate the prevalence of deep venous thrombosis after posterior spinal surgery with no prophylaxis.


There have been few studies about the occurrence of deep venous thrombosis after spinal surgery in which venography was used for screening.


Of the enrolled 134 patients undergoing posterior spinal surgery, 110 (82.1%) were examined with complete surveillance for deep venous thrombosis by venography. There were 64 males and 46 females. The average age at operation was 59.0 years (range, 14-86 years). The levels of the operation were cervical in 54, thoracic in 7, and lumbar in 49. All procedures were performed with patients under general anesthesia. Neither mechanical methods nor anticoagulation medications were used for prophylaxis against thromboembolism. Bilateral ascending venography was performed within 14 days after surgery.


There were no patients with clinical signs of deep venous thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. However, 17 patients (15.5%) showed venographic evidence of deep venous thrombosis, of whom 16 had distal thrombi, and only one had a proximal thrombus. Deep venous thrombosis was venographically evident in 3 (5.6%) of 54 patients who underwent cervical procedures, and it was evident in 13 (26.5%) of 49 patients who underwent lumbar procedures. This difference was statistical significant (chi2 test, P = 0.003). Statistical comparison between patients who did and did not have deep venous thrombosis showed that age was statistically significant (Mann-Whitney test; P < 0.05).


The prevalence of deep venous thrombosis after posterior spinal surgery is higher than generally recognized. Therefore, further study is necessary to clarify the appropriate method for screening and the effect of prophylaxis against thromboembolism after spinal surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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