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Caroline Apra, Owais Kotbi, Guillaume Turc, Robert Corns, Mélanie Pagès, Raphaëlle Souillard-Scémama, Edouard Dezamis, Eduardo Parraga, Jean-François Meder, Xavier Sauvageon, Bertrand Devaux, Catherine Oppenheim and Johan Pallud


There are no guidelines for the management of postoperative lateral sinus thrombosis following posterior fossa surgery. Introducing treatment-dose anticoagulant therapy during the immediate postoperative period increases the risk of intracranial bleeding. This study assessed the incidence of and risk factors associated with postoperative lateral sinus thrombosis and the complications related to thrombosis and/or anticoagulation.


This study was a retrospective monocentric analysis of adult patients who underwent surgical removal of a posterior fossa space-occupying lesion with available postoperative imaging. Postoperative lateral sinus thrombosis was defined as a T2* hypointensity within the venous sinus and/or a filling defect on postcontrast MRI or CT scan.


Among 180 patients, 12 (6.7%; 95% CI 3.0–10.4) were found to have lateral sinus thrombosis on postoperative imaging, none of whom were symptomatic. Unadjusted risk factors for postoperative lateral sinus thrombosis were a history of deep venous thrombosis (p = 0.016), oral contraceptive pill (p = 0.004), midline surgical approach (p = 0.035), and surgical exposure of the sinus (p < 0.001). Seven of the patients (58.3%) with a postoperative lateral sinus thrombosis received immediate treatment-dose anticoagulant therapy. Lateral sinus recanalization occurred radiologically at a mean time of 272 ± 23 days in 85.7% of patients (6 of 7) undergoing treatment-dose anticoagulant therapy and in 20% of patients (1 of 5) not receiving treatment-dose anticoagulant therapy. Postoperative complications occurred in 56.2% of patients (9 of 16) who received treatment-dose curative anticoagulant therapy and in 27% of patients (45 of 164) who did not.


Incidental radiological lateral sinus thrombosis following posterior fossa surgery has an incidence of 6.7%. To further define the benefit-to-risk ratio of a treatment-dose anticoagulant therapy, a prospective trial should be considered.