Research Article

Strategies to Prevent Lower-Extremity Positioning Injuries During Long-Duration Surgery in the Lithotomy Position: Our Techniques and Clinical Outcomes Following Genital Gender-Affirming Surgeries

Sandeep S Sandhu, Samhita Mallavarapu and Shannon M Smith and Maurice M Garcia*

Published: 21 November, 2023 | Volume 7 - Issue 1 | Pages: 015-024

Purpose: Lower-extremity (LE) injuries due to prolonged surgery duration in the dorsal lithotomy (DL) position are often morbid and can significantly affect the patient’s short and long-term quality of life. These include the development of lower extremity pressure ulcers, neuropathies, rhabdomyolysis, and compartment syndromes. As compared to other surgeries, this risk is increased in patients undergoing genital gender-affirming surgery (gGAS) due to the relatively long operative time of these surgeries related to their high complexity. Our study aimed to describe our technique for preventing LE injuries in the DL position, and to evaluate our positioning-related post-operative complications and rates.
Materials and Methods: We describe our technique for positioning in the dorsal lithotomy position, with an emphasis on injury prevention. We ensure a specific padding technique of the LE, we alert surgical assistants to not lean/rest on the LE, and we schedule LE checks and repositioning throughout the case to prevent and mitigate occult injuries. 
Herein, we report our clinical positioning-related outcomes and complications among all patients undergoing gGAS procedures lasting >300 minutes between January 2017 to March 2023. 
Results: A total of 227 patients underwent 310 surgical procedures (156 masculinizing, 154 feminizing gGAS procedures). Mean operative time was 495.5 minutes+/-156.5 minutes (SD) (Range 300–1095 minutes). A total of 6/227 (2.6%) patients (2 masculinizing and 4 feminizing surgical patients) had transient, self-limited LE pain post-op. No (0%) patients had major complications including chronic nerve injury, pressure ulcers, rhabdomyolysis, or compartment syndrome.
Conclusions: Our study is the first to describe a replicable technique, and specifically which integrates the OR team and nursing staff, to prevent LE injuries during DL. We show that it is possible to achieve a 0%-to-rare incidence of major LE injury during long-duration surgeries.

Read Full Article HTML DOI: 10.29328/journal.cjncp.1001047 Cite this Article Read Full Article PDF


Gender change surgery; Description; Position; Leg injury; Leg injuries; Compartment syndrome; Paresthesia; Injury; Nervous system; Pressure ulcer; Rhabdomyolysis


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