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Venous thromboembolism complications in shoulder surgery: current concepts


Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a rare yet known complication of shoulder surgery. Concerning shoulder arthroplasty, reported rates of VTE range from 0.2% to 16%. Unlike many lower extremity procedures, particularly total hip and knee arthroplasty, chemical prophylactic guidelines for VTE in shoulder surgeries have not been established. Some argue that doing so is unnecessary. On the contrary, mechanical prophylaxis is nearly universally accepted in shoulder surgery, particularly for more lengthy procedures. With limited VTE incidence in shoulder surgery, treatment is anecdotally derived from the hip and knee arthroplasty literature. Recent studies have successfully identified risk factors for VTE related to the patient and to the surgery itself. Awareness of these risk factors by the surgeon and declaration of these factors to the patient should be discussed as part of the informed consent process. Further investigational studies and larger patient cohorts will be necessary to optimise VTE prevention in shoulder surgeries.

  • shoulder
  • orthopaedics
  • reconstructive surgical procedures
  • arthroplasty
  • arthroscopy

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