Neurovascular Lower Extremity Complications of the Lithotomy Position

Richard J. Fowl, Donald L. Akers, Richard F. Kempczinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


The lithotomy position is commonly used during the performance of a variety of abdominal and pelvic operations. Previous publications reporting complications with these operations have been largely anecdotal. We report our experience with eight patients over the past four years who have suffered serious lower extremity complications following operations in which the lithotomy position was used. The average time in the lithotomy position for our patients was 7.4 hours (range: 3.7–12 hours). The mean interval between the original operation and the secondary operation to treat the lower extremity complication was 18.9 hours (range: 2–51 hours). The average hospital length of stay for these patients, 38.4 days (range: 11–119 days), was often prolonged as a direct result of their limb complication. Serious lower extremity complications may result from operations in which the lithotomy position is used. To prevent such complications, strict attention should be paid to the positioning of the limbs in the operating room and the time in the lithotomy position should be minimized. Perioperative monitoring of the lower extremity circulation and compartment pressures are essential in these patients since early detection and treatment of these complications is the only way to prevent permanent limb injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)357-361
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of Vascular Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


  • Lithotomy position
  • lower extremity complication
  • pelvis.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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