Review| Volume 58, ISSUE 4, P396-403, May 2020

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Systematic review of thromboprophylaxis in patients having orthognathic surgery


      Orthognathic surgery is an elective procedure that is done in healthy individuals so complications such as thromboembolic events are rare. Pharmacological thromboprophylaxis, which reduces the risk of these events, may also increase blood loss and potentially the risk of life-threatening haemorrhage, so a state of clinical equipoise exists about whether it should be given routinely. We systematically reviewed published papers to identify the incidence of venous thromboembolism and haemorrhage in patients treated by orthognathic surgery who were, and were not, given pharmacological thromboprophylaxis. The pooled incidence of thromboembolic events was 0% in those who were, and 0.19% in those who were not. Return to theatre to control bleeding was required in 2.72% of the patients treated at centres where it was given, and in 0.55% at those where it was not. Small sample sizes, the heterogeneity of treatment protocols, and incomplete reporting made further statistical analysis impossible. The incidence of venous thromboembolism in patients who have orthognathic surgery is low when compared with the rest of the hospital population. Although pharmacological thromboprophylaxis may further reduce this, it can also increase blood loss, and uncertainty therefore remains over the best protocol for its routine use. The risk stratification of individual patients, and large randomised controlled trials are now required to establish the best treatment.


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