Open lumbar spine stabilization surgery often requires mobilization of the left and right common iliac veins (CIVs) and the placement of plates and screws that can impinge on them. We reviewed our venography experience of the past 3 years to determine whether there is an association between spine stabilization surgery and the development of symptomatic iliac vein outflow lesions.


A retrospective chart review of prospectively collected data from our electronic medical record system was performed to identify patients who underwent venography with or without venous stenting and had a history of previous lumbar spine stabilization. Patients’ demographics, medical comorbidities, venograms, and intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) data were collected and analyzed. The senior author reviewed all venograms and IVUS images of patients with previous spine stabilization procedures.


From January 2014 to April 2018, venography was performed in 1713 limbs in 1245 patients at the Center for Vascular Medicine. Of the 1245 patients, 18 patients had a history of lumbar spine stabilization procedures: five anterior-posterior and 13 posterior. Nine had single-level and eight had two- or three-level fusions. All 18 patients demonstrated pelvic lesions. These included 1 left CIV aneurysm, 5 left CIV stenoses, 3 bilateral CIV stenoses, 2 left CIV and inferior vena cava occlusions, and 2 external iliac vein stenoses. The aneurysm patient was treated with anticoagulation, 8 patients underwent stenting, 1 patient refused stenting because of relocation to another country, 1 inferior vena cava-CIV occlusion could not be crossed, fear of dislodging a thrombus and the proximity to a protruding posteriorly placed screw prevented stenting in 2 patients, and 4 patients had a venoplasty alone because of undersizing of a stenosis or missed lesions with IVUS after review by a blinded reviewer. Lesions in anterior lumbar interbody fusion patients were extremely stenotic, required predilation, and resulted in a residual stenosis requiring venoplasty at a second setting in one patient.


Lumbar spine stabilization surgery may be a risk factor for development of symptomatic venous outflow obstruction lesions. During venography and stenting in patients with anterior lumbar interbody fusion approaches, significant scarring may be encountered, resulting in a residual stenosis after stent placement. Predilation venoplasty, before stent deployment, is recommended to prevent stent migration. Furthermore, a history of spine stabilization surgery in patients presenting with pelvic symptoms, lower extremity pain or swelling, or post-thrombotic symptoms should prompt consideration of a pelvic venous duplex ultrasound examination to determine whether an iliac venous outflow lesion is present.