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What tests do I need for health clearance before my facelift?

If I'm traveling to another state or out of the country what medical test do I need for a health clearence? Are there papers I should bring signed off by my doctor?

Doctor Answers (25)

Lab testing for a facelift

+3
At our institution, there are no laboratory tests that are ordered for every facelift patient.  Studies have shown that in otherwise healthy individuals, these tests are a waste of money (and your time!).  However, if you have medical problems, that is a different story.  

The 3 biggest concerns are heart disease, lung disease or kidney problems.  If you have either of these, your anesthesia team or primary doctor might order:

  • EKG
  • echocardiogram
  • stress test
  • X-ray
  • Pulmonary function tests
  • Blood work
  • Urinalysis

The idea is that we need to make sure that your heart, lungs and kidneys can withstand general anesthesia.


Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

What tests do I need for health clearance before my facelift?

+2
In general, the tests would be directed by your general medical condition.  In my practice, I do laboratory tests on patients with diabetes, hypertension, heart concerns, etc...  Patients over 50 yrs old get lab work as well.  This is a question best directed at the surgeon and anesthesiologist performing your surgery as they will have to assume the responsibility for your safety during the surgery and recovery period.  Good luck and be safe.

John Nguyen, MD, FACS
Sugar Land Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Pre-operative Testing for Facelift

+2
Thank you for the question. First, I would offer a word of caution about traveling abroad for cosmetic surgery (or really any surgery).  Follow up care is essential in cosmetic procedures, and this is generally difficult with long-distance travel.  If there are any complications, you may have a difficult time finding a doctor at home to assume your care... or end up with a lot of medical bills that are not covered by your insurance.

Second, pre-op testing is on a case-by-case. basis. In general, I follow the guidelines created by anesthesia and cardiology specialists. These dictate certain tests for men and women based on age.  The most common tests are blood tests for anemia, electrolyte levels, and coagulation capacity.  Other tests may include an EKG (heart rhythm) and chest x-ray (for patients with lung disease).  Patients with other specific illnesses, such as diabetes or liver disease, may require extra testing.

Evan Ransom, MD
Bay Area Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 35 reviews

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Illusion Is The First Of All Pleasures

+2
Prior to a facelift, we typically order an EKG on any patient older than 50 years of age, a metabolic panel, CBC, PT/PTT, relevant additional laboratory tests for any intercurrent medical conditions the patient may have, and a complete preoperative consultation and physical examination that will allow a letter of medical clearance to be written by the patient's primary care physician, if there are no contraindications to the planned surgical procedure. 

But this boilerplate response in fact buries the lead.  What is the point of going to all this trouble in the first place? It is too ensure that your operation is done as safely as possible, that the chances of an excellent surgical result are optimized, and the risks of a significant complication or life-threatening emergency are minimized.  

If this is the goal, and the reason for doing such a preoperative workup in the United States in the first place, then it defies logic to fly off to Kazakhstan to have your actual surgery performed there. What if there is a surgical complication? For how many weeks will you be able to stay there? What is their capacity to actually treat a serious surgical complication? What if a serious medical complication occurs during your procedure such as an intraoperative MI, stroke or DVT?  What is the quality of their hospital system, their cardiac care units and the medical professionals who staff them, their EMS and ambulance system? In the event of a serious complication, there will be many more people and institutions involved in your care than just your operating surgeon and his clinic.

Going to the trouble to get all the proper preoperative laboratory studies and medical clearance, and then heading out of the country to undergo aesthetic surgery is a bit like meticulously packing your parachute, and then going up in a plane to go skydiving without it. It gives you the illusion of safety, but not the reality. 

Peter Lee, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.0 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

Preoperative Medical Clearance Before Facelift

+2
Thank you for your question. There are no standard tests for every facelift. There are some guidelines for individual patients that I use in my practice but it is mostly case by case. No matter who is to perform your surgery they should instruct you very clearly on what is expected.  I would advise you to find a Board Certified Plastic Surgeon that isn't far from you. An overseas post operative situation can become very difficult if problems arise. Best of luck to you.

Mary Lee Peters, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 80 reviews

Facelift clearence

+2
I do no testing on healthy patients...........If you are having real anesthesia....i.e. general or I V sedation you may need blood tests at the least and possibly a chest x-ray and urinalysis.  All this will depend on both the facility protocol and the surgeon. If you have any real medical concerns or present conditions your internist will have to add whatever he feels is safe and necessary. As I do all my facelifts with simple oral sedation and local xylocaine injections I do not have healthy patients do any testing at all...as none is needed or required.

Richard Galitz, MD, FACS
Miami Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

Pre op tests

+2
Pre op testing needs vary based on your age and your health status. Your surgeon and anesthesia provider can tell you what they need to safely proceed. And I would be careful about traveling for a surgery as significant as a face lift. If you have any problems after you return home you might find it very difficult to find a surgeon to assume your care.

Lee E. Corbett, MD
Louisville Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Medical Clearance for Medical Tourism Facelift

+2
If you are traveling for a facelift, you should have already contacted your surgeon. Ideally, this first contact should be in person. The purpose of the initial contact is to determine if you are a reasonable candidate for the procedure and then if you are potentially medically fit for the surgery. The surgeon should also have informed you, based on your past medical history, what medical clearance you need. This will also depend on what the anesthesiologist requires. 

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

What tests do I need for health clearance before my facelift?

+2
Medical clearance is based on your health history, and age.  Testing needed is decided by your surgeon, and the guidelines of the anesthesia department.  The best advise I can give you is to stay near your surgeon until he releases you, and you are healed.  If you are going to another country for a better price, re- think that.  Your health is far more important than the price of a facelift.  

Robert E. Zaworski, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 23 reviews

Medical tourism For a facelift

+2
Each plastic surgery office has different requirements, so it's best always check with the  surgery Center where you are having  surgery performed at. The type of preoperative testing performed also depends upon medications that you're currently on and past medical history. Blood work, EKG's Our common, procedure to have performed prior to surgery. It's also not a bad idea to have your primary care physician do a history and physical prior to the surgery.

William Portuese, MD
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 54 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.