Blood Thinners or Iron Before a Tummy Tuck?

My doctor puts all of his tummy tuckers on iron for 3 weeks before surgery but I am reading many doctors put their people on blood thinners , two totally different things, I am just wondering why?

Doctor Answers 5

TT & Iron

 Iron administered BEFORE a Tummy Tuck can have two very important effects. The first is to possibly boast your blood count or Hemoglobin. This can obviously be of more importance in patients that combine an Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck with another procedure such as Liposuction. There could be more blood loss. The second reason for giving patients Iron BEFORE a Tummy Tuck could be to decrease the incidence of peri-operative Deep Venous Thrombosis/ Pulmonary Embolus (DVT/ PE).
 As we perform many LipoAbdominoplasty’s in our practice over the years we have developed Critical Pathways of Care to decrease peri-operative complications in our patients.  Peri-operative complications can cause unwanted untoward events and unfavorable outcomes. One of the most deadly complications of a Tummy Tuck can be a DVT/ PE. Screening patients for risk factors for DVT/ PE, pre-operative Iron and peri-operative preventive measures such as sequential compressive garments, early ambulation, Lovenox, etc. can and do decrease the incidence of this untoward event.
 I am new to RealSelf so, please excuse me for taking so long to answer this question. Best,


Gary R Culbertson, MD, FACS

Columbia Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 9 reviews

Iron or Blood thinners

Iron is fine to take prior to a tummy tuck. However, under no circumstances should you be on blood thinners for at least two weeks prior to surgery. If you were on blood thinners, your surgeon ought to get a protime blood test to determine if it is safe to proceed on the day of surgery.

Howard N. Robinson, MD (retired)
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 62 reviews

Blood Thinners or Iron Before a Tummy Tuck

Great question.  In our practice we usually check the hemaglobin in the office prior to the procedure.  If it is low, we do recommend slow Fe prior to the procedure. In terms of blood thinners, all our patients are placed post operatively on Arixtra, a low dose blood thinner.  The main cause of serious morbidity and mortality in tummy tuck patients is a DVT/PE.  I do believe it will soon be standard of care to place all patients on a blood thinner post op.  Good luck!

Christian A. Prada, MD, FACS
Saint Louis Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 259 reviews

Iron before surgery

You will some blood during and after a tummy tuck. Giving you iron will prepare your body to manufacture hemoglobin, the essential oxygen carrying protein in the blood. When you begin taking iron it takes several weeks for your body to build up a sufficient level to help speed up creation of new red blood cells, so if you will need iron, it does makes sense to begin before surgery. 


Blood thinners, on the other hand, are medications that make blood clots less likely to occur. Blood clots in the legs which may travel to the lungs are a serious complication of many types of surgery including tummy tuck. The blood thinners do have risks, so your surgeon will balance the risks and benefits to make a recommendation.


Best wishes.

Jourdan Gottlieb, MD
Seattle Plastic Surgeon
4.6 out of 5 stars 45 reviews

Blood thinners or Iron before TT, confused?

They are 2 completely different things. Iron will help you build up your blood levels before surgery because you will lose some blood with surgery. Standard practice, especially for women with low blood levels. Blood thinners are sometime given right before surgery by an injection to help prevent blood clots in the legs, which is one of the worst complications in any type of surgery, the blood thinners can increase your risk of bleeding and not all patients are candidates for it, thanks

Jonathan Weiler, MD
Baton Rouge Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 87 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.