(HealthDay News) — Children who have spinal surgery may not require anticoagulant medication as thromboembolic complications occur rarely in these procedures, according to research published in the July 15 issue of Spine.

The researchers analyzed the outcomes of nearly 22,000 children across the United States who had spinal fusion surgery between 2001–2010. Overall, venous thromboembolism occurred in 21 of every 10,000 surgeries and no patients died due to thromboembolic complications.

Certain subgroups of patients were at higher risk than others. Increasing age and diagnoses of congenital scoliosis, syndromic scoliosis/kyphoscoliosis, and thoracolumbar fractures were significantly associated with thromboembolic complications.

“Our findings should help clinicians weigh the pros and cons of pre-emptive treatment and focus on those who stand to benefit the most,” senior investigator Paul Sponseller, MD, chief of pediatric orthopedics, said in a Johns Hopkins Medicine news release. “Most children undergoing spine surgeries should be perfectly safe without medication. Treatment should be reserved for the handful of patients who have a real risk of developing dangerous clots,” he said. “In these patients, the benefits of treatment far outweigh the risks.”

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