Background: Deep vein thrombosis is a known serious complication of surgical procedures and a significant cause of morbidity and mortality. Plastic surgeons’ management of the risk of deep vein thrombosis and current information regarding deep vein thrombosis incidence rates are limited. A survey was designed and mailed to plastic surgeons to collect data on the patterns of practice with regard to deep vein thrombosis in patients undergoing plastic surgery procedures.
Methods: A comprehensive self-administered, anonymous survey was mailed to 1557 plastic surgeons in March of 2003.
Results: A total of 334 completed responses were available for analysis. Subsets of surgeons do not use any deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis: 16.4 percent who perform face lifts; 21.3 percent who perform liposuction; and 8.7 percent who perform a combined abdominoplasty-liposuction procedure. Only 48.7 percent of surgeons performing face lifts, 43.7 percent of surgeons performing liposuction, and 60.8 percent performing a combined procedure use deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis all the time.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate a need for educational efforts and guidelines to direct clinical practice in line with evidence-based data concerning plastic surgery procedures and deep vein thrombosis. Plastic surgeons should be aware of the potential and real risks of deep vein thrombosis and procedures for prevention and treatment to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with deep vein thrombosis in all plastic surgery patients.