Is deep venous thrombosis a common complication in patients treated with Ilizarov external fixator?

Sandeep Reddy, Harshad M. Shah, Naveen Kumar L., Rahul P., Vimal Kumar K. H.


Background: Determining the incidence of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), a prospective study, in patients treated with Ilizarov external fixators for lower extremity fractures, fracture non unions or deformity correction.

Methods: A Prospective, observational and cross sectional study. 49 Patients with complex lower extremity injuries, deformities and non-union of fractures were treated with Ilizarov external fixator application, were assessed clinically and radiological (Venous Doppler) at regular intervals- 6 days post-surgery then at 6 weeks, 12 weeks and between 4 to 6 months post-operative. None were given chemoprophylaxis for the prevention of DVT and everyone were assessed pre operatively with a questionnaire and wells criteria was taken for assessment of high risk for developing venous thrombosis. There were 41 men and 8 women, 85.75% of the study group is of age 30 to 60 years.

Results: Only 1 of 49 patients developed radiological evident DVT within 6 days of surgery. Patients who underwent application of Ilizarov external fixator electively for deformity correction, osteomyelitis and non-union showed no clinical or radiological evident signs of DVT.

Conclusions: The incidence of DVT and PTE is minimal when patients without chemoprophylaxis underwent lower limb Ilizarov external fixator application for acute trauma and electively for deformity correction, treatment of non-union and osteomyelitis. However further comparative and randomized studies need to be done to confirm our results.


Ilizarov external fixator, Lower limb, DVT, Chemoprophylaxis

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