Risk of venous thrombosis after arthroscopy of the knee: results from a large population-based case-control study

J Thromb Haemost. 2015 Aug;13(8):1441-8. doi: 10.1111/jth.12996. Epub 2015 Jun 5.


Background: From the currently available evidence, the risk of venous thrombosis after knee arthroscopy remains unclear.

Objectives: To estimate the risk of venous thrombosis after arthroscopy of the knee, and to identify high-risk groups.

Patients and methods: We used data from a large population-based case-control study (the Multiple Environmental and Genetic Assessment of risk factors for venous thrombosis [MEGA] study) on the etiology of venous thrombosis (4416 cases; 6150 controls). Odds ratios (ORs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs), adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, rheumatic disease, and regular exercise, were calculated.

Results: One hundred and three patients and 24 controls had a knee arthroscopy in the year before the index date, resulting in a six-fold increased risk (OR 5.9, 95% CI 3.7-9.3). Ligament reconstructions led to a higher risk (OR 17.2, 95% CI 2.2-136) than meniscal surgery, diagnostic arthroscopy, or chondroplasty (OR 5.4, 95% CI 3.4-8.7). An additionally increased risk was found for combinations with genetic and acquired risk factors: with oral contraceptives (OR 46.6, 95% CI 6.1-353); and with factor V Leiden, factor II G20210A mutation, or non-O blood type (OR 15.3, 95% CI 8.1-28.5). The risk of venous thrombosis was particularly high in the first 3 months after knee arthroscopy, with an 18-fold increased risk (OR 16.2, 95% CI 7.8-33.7).

Conclusions: We observed a strongly increased risk of venous thrombosis after knee arthroscopy, especially in the first months after the procedure. The risk was particularly high in the presence of other acquired or genetic risk factors, making knee arthroscopy a high-risk intervention in certain individuals.

Keywords: arthroscopy; case-control studies; orthopedic surgery; risk factors; venous thrombosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arthroscopy / adverse effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal / adverse effects
  • Factor V / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Knee / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prothrombin / genetics
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Venous Thrombosis / blood
  • Venous Thrombosis / diagnosis
  • Venous Thrombosis / etiology*
  • Venous Thrombosis / genetics


  • ABO Blood-Group System
  • Contraceptives, Oral, Hormonal
  • factor V Leiden
  • Factor V
  • Prothrombin