Background Patients with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) have inherent prothrombotic tendencies. It is unknown whether this necessitates the use of additional perioperative anti-thrombotic prophylaxis when such patients require major surgery.Methods The postoperative courses Of 79 patients with UC undergoing 180, major abdominal and pelvic operations were examined for clinical and radiological evidence of venous thrombosis. Eighteen patients with Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP) having surgery (35 operations) of similar magnitude were also studied. Standard anti-thrombosis prophylaxis was utilised in all patients.Results Nine patients with UC were clinically suspected of developing postoperative venous thrombosis, but only three (3.8%) had their diagnosis confirmed radiologically (all had a pulmonary embolus). Therefore, the overall postoperative thrombosis rate, on an intention to treat basis, was 1.7% (3/180). No patient with FAP developed significant venous thrombosis.Conclusion Standard perioperative antithrombotic modalities are sufficient to maintain any potential increase in postoperative thrombotic risk at an acceptable level in patients with UC undergoing operative intervention.