Are Blood Clots Common After Abdominoplasty?

I am 39 yr old healthy. I want to have a tummy tuck with liposuction on my back planks or love handles. Was wondering whats the chance of me devoloping a blood clot? Are they always fatal? Also a little about me is non smoker and non history of blood clots.

Doctor Answers 7

Blood clots after tummy tuck

Fortunately, the risk of blood clots in the leg (Deep Vein Thrombus) or lung (Pulmonary Embolus) is very low after most elective plastic surgery. If the risk was high and unavoidable, we wouldn't keep doing these procedures.

Tummy tucks do tend to have a higher risk of blood clots after surgery than other plastic surgery procedures.  There are things that can be done to help prevent them, though.  I don't allow my patients to have long plane flights (longer than 2 hours) within 10 days of surgery.  We use compression hose and electric compression boots during surgery to stimulate the legs to release a chemical that helps prevent clots during surgery.  We encourage early ambulation (get out of bed and walk around the night of surgery!).  In higher risk patients, we use a blood thinner for 10 days after surgery. 

There is a laundry list of risk factors for DVT/PE.  Being a 39 year old healthy, nonsmoker with no history of blood clots does not increase your risk of DVT/PT, but there are other factors that must be considered as well.  We use a screening tool in our office to assign risk factors to each patient, so we can prevent DVT/PE as aggressively as possible.  Your surgeon will talk to you about any risk factors she finds during your consultation.

Just know that the vast majority of women do just fine after having a tummy tuck and liposuction done.  See a surgeon who is Certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery.  Best wishes!

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 43 reviews

The chance of a blood clot with a tummy tuck

The quoted rates of DVT (blood clot) with tummy tuck vary tremendously. My recall is that this can range anywhere from 1 out of 40,000 to as high as 1 out of 3,500. They ARE NOT universally fatal. In fact, most are not. However, identification, when possible, and subsequent treatment is preferred.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 82 reviews

Are Blood Clots Common After Abdominoplasty?

Thank you for the question. The risk of deep venous thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism associated with tummy tuck surgery is small, but real. Your surgeon will obtain a careful personal and family history ( and sometimes additional bloodwork if necessary) to ascertain your risk factors and determine the best “prophylaxis”. Avoidance of nicotine products and/or estrogen related products may be indicated.

Choosing your plastic surgeon carefully is important. Having the procedure performed in a fully accredited surgical facility is also important.  Routine measures such as compression stockings and early adulation are some of the measures taken. Some patients benefit from use of “blood thinners” around the time of surgery as well.

Again, your plastic surgeon will be able to ascertain your own personal risk “profile” when it comes to potential deep venous thrombosis and/or pulmonary embolism.  It is probable that once you have had this communication with your plastic surgeon, your anxiety level will decrease.

Best wishes.

Tom J. Pousti, MD, FACS
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 1,498 reviews

Blood clots after tummy tuck

The risk with any surgery is pretty low especially when general precautions are used like lower compression devices are used and early ambulation is performed.

Steven Wallach, MD
New York Plastic Surgeon
4.1 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Risk of Blood Clot Formation After Tummy Tuck

The risk of developing blood clots is present in ANY surgery requiring over one hour of general anesthesia.  The risk may be slightly higher for abdominoplasty, especially if combined with liposuction.  However, I and other plastic surgeons routinely combine liposuction of the love handles with tummy tuck surgery.  The risk of fatal blood clot formation is very low.  The best candidates are patients which are at or close to healthy body weight, non-smoker, have no history of blood clots in self or family, and the surgery is kept under 6 hours of anesthesia. 

Michael A. Jazayeri, MD
Santa Ana Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Liposuction at the same time as a Tummy Tuck increases the likelihood of blood clots

Blood clots are rare and as long as they are caught early are not fatal. Early walking, sequential compression devices during and after surgery help decrease the chances. Liposuction at the same time as a tummy tuck has been shown to significantly increase the chances of a blood clot.

Mark Broudo, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Chance of Blood Clots after Tummy Tuck

Blood clots can happen but are very uncommon after having a Tummy Tuck.  I would say less than 1%.  In my practice we use all of the precautions that we possibly can to prevent them from happening. 

Robert N. Young, MD, FACS
San Antonio Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 70 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.