Breast reconstruction is associated with multiple risk factors for venous thromboembolism. However, the incidence of deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing breast reconstruction is uncertain.Objective
The aim of this study was to prospectively evaluate the incidence of deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing breast reconstruction using autologous tissue transfer and to identify potential risk factors for deep vein thrombosis.Methods
Thirty-five patients undergoing breast reconstruction were enrolled. We measured patients’ preoperative characteristics including age, body mass index (kg/m2), and risk factors for deep vein thrombosis. The preoperative diameter of each venous segment in the deep veins was measured using duplex ultrasound. All patients received intermittent pneumatic pump and elastic compression stockings for postoperative thromboprophylaxis.Results
Among the 35 patients evaluated, 11 (31.4%) were found to have deep vein thrombosis postoperatively, and one patient was found to have pulmonary embolism postoperatively. All instances of deep vein thrombosis developed in the calf and were asymptomatic. Ten of 11 patients underwent free flap transfer, and the remaining one patient received a latissimus dorsi pedicled flap. Deep vein thrombosis incidence did not significantly differ between patients with a free flap or pedicled flap (P = 0.13). Documented risk factors for deep vein thrombosis demonstrated no significant differences between patients with and without deep vein thrombosis. The diameter of the common femoral vein was significantly larger in patients who developed postoperative deep vein thrombosis than in those who did not (P < 0.05).Conclusions
The morbidity of deep vein thrombosis in patients who underwent breast reconstruction using autologous tissue transfer was relatively high. Since only the diameter of the common femoral vein was predictive of developing postoperative deep vein thrombosis, postoperative pharmacological thromboprophylaxis should be considered for all patients undergoing breast reconstruction regardless of operative procedure.