How does the risk for postoperative deep venous thrombosis (DVT) vary among types of surgical interventions?

Updated: Jun 05, 2019
  • Author: Kaushal (Kevin) Patel, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Postoperative venous thrombosis varies depending on a multitude of patient factors, including the type of surgery undertaken. Without prophylaxis, general surgery operations typically have an incidence of DVT around 20%, whereas orthopedic hip surgery can occur in up to 50% of patients. [81] The nature of orthopedic illnesses and diseases, trauma, and surgical repair or replacement of hip and knee joints predisposes patients to the occurrence of VTE disease. These complications are predictable and are the result of alterations of the natural equilibrium mechanisms in various disease states. [82] For more information, see Deep Venous Thrombosis Prophylaxis.

Based on radioactive labeled fibrinogen, about half of lower extremity thrombi develop intraoperatively. [83] Perioperative immobilization, coagulation abnormalities, and venous injury all contribute to the development of surgical venous thrombosis.

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