Anticoagulation for Hypercoagulable Patients Associated with Complications after Large Cranioplasty Reconstruction

Eric W. Sankey, Joseph Lopez, Shuting Susan Zhong, Harlyn Susarla, Ignacio Jusué-Torres, Jason Liauw, Judy Huang, Michael Streiff, Henry Brem, Chad R. Gordon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Despite advancements in materials and techniques used for cranial reconstruction, complication rates following reconstructive cranioplasty remain significant. Methods: In this study, the authors assessed the association of perioperative anticoagulation use and/or a hypercoagulable state with minor (i.e., not requiring surgical intervention) and major (i.e., surgical intervention required) complications after reconstructive cranioplasty for large skull defects. A retrospective cohort review of 108 consecutive cranioplasties performed between 2011 and 2014 was conducted. A multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify the adjusted association between the predictor variables and complications. Results: Twenty-three primary (21.3 percent) and 85 secondary (78.7 percent) cranioplasties were performed on 94 patients with a median age of 50 years (interquartile range, 38 to 63 years). Median full-thickness calvarial defect size was 154 cm2 (interquartile range, 104 to 230 cm2). Eleven minor (10.2 percent) and 18 major postoperative complications (16.7 percent) occurred in 26 cases (24.1 percent). Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that coagulation status (i.e., perioperative use of anticoagulation therapy or hypercoagulable state) was statistically significant in predicting minor complications (OR, 7.8; 95 percent CI, 2.4 to 25.2; p = 0.001). Of note, the odds of a minor complication were an order of magnitude higher when both perioperative anticoagulation and a hypercoagulable state were present. Conclusion: To the authors' knowledge, this is the first study to document that the use of perioperative anticoagulant therapy for patients with thromboembolic conditions is a positive predictor of complications following cranioplasty reconstruction. Clinical Question/Level of Evidence: Therapeutic, III.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-607
Number of pages13
JournalPlastic and reconstructive surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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