Vascular injuries during anterior exposure of the thoracolumbar Spine

Vladimir Zahradnik, Daniel Lubelski, Kalil G. Abdullah, Rebecca Kelso, Thomas Mroz, Vikram S. Kashyap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the vascular injuries, repairs, and complications encountered during anterior thoracolumbar spine exposures. Methods: The medical records of patients undergoing anterior spine exposures from January 2004 to June 2010 were retrospectively analyzed. Results: A total of 269 anterior exposures were performed in 260 patients. The average patient age was 50.1 years, and the average body mass index was 29.0. Female patients represented 146 (54.3%) cases. Previous spinal surgery was noted in 145 (53.9%) cases, and 19 (7.1%) had previous anterior exposure. The median estimated blood loss (EBL) was 300 mL, and there were no postoperative mortalities. A vascular injury occurred in 37 cases (13.8%), with redo anterior exposure (n = 19, 52% vs. 11%; P < 0.001), previous spinal surgery (n = 145, 19% vs. 7%; P = 0.01), and diagnosis of a tumor (n = 14, 36% vs. 12.5%; P = 0.03) being associated with increased vascular injury. A vascular injury resulted in greater EBL (median: 800 mL vs. 300 mL; P < 0.001) and longer hospitalization (median: 7 days vs. 5 days; P = 0.04). Most frequently injured was the left common iliac vein (in 21 of the 37 [52.5%] injured cases). A vascular surgeon performed the exposure in 159 (59.1%) cases. There was a decrease in EBL (250 mL vs. 500 mL; P < 0.001), total incision time (290 minutes vs. 404 minutes; P = 0.002), and length of stay (5 days vs. 6.5 days; P < 0.001) as compared with the operations where the vascular surgeon was not involved in the exposure. These cases also had an increased incidence of any vascular injury (28 vs. 9; P = 0.04). There were no differences between groups regarding vascular injury type, repair type, or the incidence of deep venous thrombosis. Conclusion: Collaboration between spine and vascular teams may result in decreased blood loss and consequently improved morbidity and length of hospital stay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-313
Number of pages8
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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