The impact of antiplatelet medication on hand and wrist surgery

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12 Scopus citations


Purpose: To quantify the impact of maintaining antiplatelet medication during hand and wrist surgery on bleeding and functional outcomes. Methods: This prospective cohort trial compared operative outcomes and complications of hand and wrist surgery in patients without interruption of daily antiplatelet medications (n = 107 procedures) with control patients (n = 107 procedures). We determined rates of complications requiring reoperation for each group. We compared measures of surgical site bleeding (extent of ecchymosis or hematoma formation), patient-rated outcome assessment (Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand score and visual analog scales of pain and swelling), and 2-point discrimination between groups. Data were collected preoperatively and postoperatively at 2 and 4 weeks. We confirmed control and antiplatelet populations to be similar for data analysis according to health status (Short Form-12) and percentage of bony procedures. Results: One patient receiving antiplatelet medication required reoperation for surgical site bleeding after wrist arthrodesis (0.9%). There were no complications in the control group. The extent of postoperative ecchymosis was similar in the antiplatelet and control patients at 2 weeks (16 vs 19 mm) and 4 weeks (1 vs 1 mm). Hematoma rates were not increased for patients receiving antiplatelet medication (17% vs 14% at 2 wk). Patient-rated function scores were equivalent at baseline and at follow-up between groups. A total of 22 control patients and 20 patients receiving antiplatelet medication had transiently increased 2-point discrimination (≥ 2-mm change) postoperatively. Conclusions: Bleeding-related perioperative complications were rare when continuing antiplatelet medications without interruption for hand and wrist surgery. Maintenance of antiplatelet medication does not appear to negatively affect patient-rated or objective measures of function, although surgical-site bleeding may be greatest in patients taking higher-dose antiplatelet medication and undergoing bony procedures. Type of study/level of evidence: Therapeutic II.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1063-1070
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Hand Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • Anticoagulation
  • antiplatelet
  • hand
  • surgery
  • wrist


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