J Korean Radiol Soc.  2006 Nov;55(5):461-470. 10.3348/jkrs.2006.55.5.461.

Anatomic Variation of the Deep Venous System and its Relationship with Deep Vein Thrombosis Found on the Lower Extremity Venograms that were Obtained after Artificial Joint Replacements

  • 1Department of Radiology, College of Medcine, Ewha Womans University, Korea. YooLee@ewha.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Preventive medicine, College of Medcine, Ewha Womans University, Korea.


We wanted to evaluate the anatomic variations, the number of valves and the presence of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on the lower extremity venograms obtained after artificial joint replacements, and we also wanted to determine the correlation of the incidence of DVT with the above-mentioned factors and the operation sites.
From January to June 2004, conventional ascending contrast venographies of the lower extremities were performed in 119 patients at 7-10 days after artificial joint replacement, and all the patients were asymptomatic. Total knee replacement was done for 152 cases and total hip replacement was done for 34 cases. On all the venographic images of 186 limbs, the anatomic variations were classified and the presence of DVT was evaluated; the number of valves in the superficial femoral vein(SFV) and calf veins was counted. The sites of DVT were classified as calf, thigh and pelvis. Statistically, chi square tests and Fischer's exact tests were performed to determine the correlation of the incidence of DVT with the anatomic variations, the numbers of valves and the operation sites.
Theoretically, there are 9 types of anatomical variation in the deep vein system of the lower extremity that can be classified, but only 7 types were observed in this study. The most frequent type was the normal single SFV type and this was noted in 117 cases (63%), and the others were all variations (69 cases, 37%). There was a 22.2% incidence of DVT (69 cases) in the normal single SFV type and 26.4% (17 cases) in the other variations. No significant difference was noted in the incidences of DVT between the two groups. In addition, no significant statistical differences were noted for the incidences of DVT between the single or variant multiple veins in the SFV and the popliteal vein (PV) respectively, between the different groups with small or large numbers of valves in the thigh and calf, respectively, and also between the different operation sites of the hip or knee artificial joint replacements. The total number of asymptomatic DVT cases was 43 (23.1%) and DVT was found in the calf in 39 of these cases.
Post-operative venograms of the lower extremity showed 7 types of anatomic variation in the deep venous system. The incidence of silent post-operative DVT was not influenced by anatomic variations of the deep vein system, whether there were a small or large number of valves and the operation sites for artificial joint replacement. The most frequent site of DVT after artificial joint replacement was the calf.


Venography veins; Thrombosis

MeSH Terms

Anatomic Variation*
Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip
Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
Lower Extremity*
Popliteal Vein
Venous Thrombosis*
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