Cephalic vein patency after deltopectoral approach to the shoulder and the effect on upper extremity edema
Seminars in Arthroplasty
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© 2020 American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons Background: The effect of the direction of cephalic vein mobilization in a deltopectoral approach to the shoulder on limb edema is unknown. The primary objective was to evaluate the effect of the direction of cephalic vein mobilization/ligation on limb edema after elective shoulder arthroplasty. The secondary objectives were to: evaluate the effect of the arthroplasty procedure performed on limb edema; correlate postoperative ultrasonographic patency with intraoperative assessment. Methods: A cohort of 62 patients undergoing primary shoulder arthroplasty using the deltopectoral approach were enrolled and prospectively followed. Exclusion criteria included: surgery for fracture and prior open anterior shoulder procedure. Surgeons documented the direction of vein mobilization and if it was ligated. Patency was assessed by doppler ultrasound and standardized limb circumference measurement preoperatively, at 2 weeks and 12 weeks postoperatively. Results: Arm circumference was significantly increased at 2 weeks in all cohorts (lateral, p<0.001; medial, p = 0.007; ligated, p = 0.011) and at 12 weeks in the laterally-mobilized (p = 0.022) and ligated cohorts (p = 0.003) as compared to preoperatively. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty demonstrated significantly greater arm circumference at 12 weeks as compared to total shoulder arthroplasty (p = 0.014). Intraoperative determination of patency was moderately correlated with 2- and 12-week (r = 0.70, 0.59) ultrasound assessment. Conclusion: Medial cephalic vein mobilization in a deltopectoral approach resulted in significantly less arm edema at 3-months when compared to lateral mobilization/ligation. Reverse shoulder arthroplasty demonstrated greater arm edema at 3-months when compared to total shoulder arthroplasty. Intraoperative determination of cephalic vein patency was moderately correlated with postoperative vein patency as assessed by ultrasound. Level of Evidence: III.