Blood Clot Risk During Liposuction Recovery?

How many days/weeks/months is it possible to develop a blood clot while in recovery from liposuction?

Doctor Answers 7

Blood clots post liposuction

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Usually 2 weeks post op is safe for blood clots but one can never be too safe. Calf tenderness, shortness of breath, fever, and rapid heart rate are all symptoms.

Blood clots are unlikely with liposuction

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Blood clots are not common with liposuction surgery, but there may be a relatively greater theoretical risk with liposuction of the calves, inner thighs and abdomen, or with high volume liposuction (greater than 5 liters aspirate). Important things to do to minimize risk include walking, getting up and around after surgery, and drinking lots of fluids. After surgery, if there is greater pain, swelling, firmness in one leg over the other, particularly if there is any shortness of breath, these are indicators someone must get checked out immediately.

If there is a baseline clotting disorder or history of blood clots, risk is definitely something to consider and a real risk.

Michele A. Shermak, MD
Baltimore Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 57 reviews

Blood clot risk during liposuction recovery

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As Dr. Rand pointed out, we encounter 2 varieties of venous blood clots; 1. SUPERFICIAL thrombophlebitis and 2. DEEP Venous Thrombosis (DVT).

The propensity to clot depends on your family history (there are genetically inherited clotting diseases), length of immobility and factors such as estrogen / birth control intake, obesity, underlying serious disease , smoking , etc.

The first group is clotting seen in superficial veins (even in an IV site) that resolve rapidly with local heat, anti-inflammatory agents and, if needed, antibiotics. The second group is seen in the deep veins of the legs and pelvis. It can be greatly decreased by the use of leg pumps during surgery and a lot of mobility after surgery, during recovery. Once the DVT clots are formed, we try to get them to stop from increasing in size or to become detached from the vein walls and flow to the lungs. Eventually, the clots scar to the vein walls and no longer threaten a shower of clots.

If you did not demonstrate a clot in the first 2-3 weeks after surgery, it is VERY unlikely that you will have one.

The key is hydration and ambulation - drink and walk.

Peter A. Aldea, MD
Memphis Plastic Surgeon

Postoperative blood clots

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There are two basic types of blood clots, those that occur in the superficial veins and those that occur in the deep veins. It is those in the deep veins that can be the most threatening (DVT) and can dislodge and spread to the lungs and can be fatal (PE). These are usually associated with immobilization and slow flow in the veins. The greatest risk is during surgery and in the early postop period. That is why pumps are used on the legs or the feet and early ambulation is required. Generally if you are 7-10 days beyond surgery and have had no problems, you won't.

Usually you are safe a week after Liposuction without symptoms

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In more than 30 years of doing liposuction I have never had a patient with any serious complication from liposuction. Though each patient is told that this can occur, it is rare without a history of this problem and the use of pressure stockings during surgery.

Toby Mayer, MD
Beverly Hills Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Blood clots rare after liposuction

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Serious blood clots (deep venous thrombosis or DVT) that can be a threat to your health are fortunately rare after liposuction. Nevertheless, it is important to take precautions to help prevent blood clots.Before surgery, your surgeon may ask you to discontinue birth control pills as these increase the risk of blood clots. During surgery, compression hose and pneumatic sequential hose (hose that pump the blood in and out of your legs) are recommended to reduce the risk of DVT. After surgery, your surgeon may give you a daily shot to thin your blood. But the most important thing you can do is to be up moving frequently. When relaxing, frequently flex your ankles and legs -- it is the natural movement of your own muscles that helps best to prevent blood clots. The risk should greatly diminish after 3 to 4 weeks.

Michael D. Yates, MD
Huntsville Plastic Surgeon

Risk of blood clot with liposuction (DVT & PE)

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The answer for this is essentially, forever. Why? Because liposuction alone is not the reason why you develop a blood clot. It is primarily the time under general anesthesia and the degree to which you are immobilized.

People who have NEVER had liposuction are at risk for a blood clot if they are immobilized for prolonged periods (plane trip or placed in a cast) or have other conditions or medications which increase this tendency.

If you liposuction procedure is brief or under local and you are not immobilized and have no other predisposing factors, your risk of blood clot is definitely less than 1 in 50,000. However, the true number is not known due to the difficulty in recording procedures.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 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.