Should I be concerned that my doctor isn't ordering any pre-op labs?

My ps doesn't do them unless he feels the need based on my medical history/situation.  Should I be concerned that he's not doing them on me? im totally confident in him in every other way, I'm just 3 woks to go and starting to question/worry about everything! Thanks

Doctor Answers 11

Pre-Op Labs

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The necessity of preoperative labs has changed over the years as we have learned more about what they actually tell us about your health. What we have learned is that a good history and physical exam can tell you whether or not any lab tests are necessary. For those under 60 without symptoms or findings of any disease and a normal blood pressure, the only suggested lab test our anesthesiologists suggest are a hematocrit in women with heavy menses and a pregnancy test if there is a chance of pregnancy, again, based on history.

Highlands Plastic Surgeon

"Pre-op Labs"

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Thank you for your question. I understand why you are concerned but please be assured that for healthy patients routine laboratory tests aren't required. I agree with Dr. DeMars below and disagree with the other two respondents. My practice situation sound similar to his. Our anesthesiologists do not ask for laboratory work on healthy patients under age 60. Complete patient history and physical examination done before surgery is far more important than laboratory studies. 

However the one test we feel is very important is a pregnancy test for women of child bearing age. We do this in our office on the morning of surgery. Drugs used for sedation and general surgery could adversely affect the fetus.  

William McClure, MD
San Francisco Plastic Surgeon

Should I be concerned that my doctor isn't ordering any pre-op labs?

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I have been doing surgery for over 35 years under general anesthesia first as a general surgeon and later as a plastic surgeon. The standard of care definitely does not include routine labs on a healthy patient. This has been a change over the years as one published study after another has shown routine labs done without proper indication to be a waste of money and resources. I work routinely with 6-8 different anesthesiologists and none of them require routine labs on anyone under 60.

Ronald V. DeMars, MD
Portland Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Should i be concerned that my doctors isn't ordering any pre-op labs?

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Hello Gormlg1,

You should be concerned, all surgical procedure under general anesthesia require pre-op labs.I have my patients do a basic blood work there could be anything wrong and not know it. If you want to feel more comfortable got to your primary doctor having him/her order a pre-op lab order.

Should I be concerned that my doctor isn't ordering any pre-op labs?

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Practices will vary.  In our practice, pre-op blood work depends on your age and health status (medical history).  At the very least, a hemoglobin and pregnancy test is useful for most of our patients.  For older patients (or those with specific medical problems where extensive blood /EKG workup is indicated) a medical clearance from a primary care doctor or specialist (depending on patient medical history) may be necessary.

Best wishes.

So many differences of opinion on needed lab tests

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Interesting the number of different responses!  Lab work in my area is guided by preoperative risk factors.  For young, healthy women, the only necessary labs are a hemoglobin (to make sure you are not anemic due to menstrual cycles) and a pregnancy test. These basic labs are checked the day of your surgery.  I have only had to cancel surgery once due to a positive pregnancy test.  No one has ever been anemic.  Hope this helps.

Brian Dorner, MD
Columbus Plastic Surgeon

Pre op labs are necessary

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Well I think all patients demand a blood count, basic chemistry and pregnancy test (if applicable).  Every surgeon and facility is different in what is required but what I listed is the standard of care.

Earl Stephenson, Jr, MD, DDS, FACS

Pre-op Labs

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Even you are young and healthy--and do not require a medical clearance--- before each surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia-- it is a requirement to get blood work, EKG and in some cases- chest x-ray  done prior to the surgery. Safety of the patient is essential!


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There is nothing more important than safety in order to prevent risk of complications during and after surgery.
Lab work and EKG will let us know and confirm you are healthy and can have surgery safely. 
I personally would never perform on a patient without lab work. 
Dr. Cardenas

Preoperative lab work

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Pre-op labs are not always necessary even if you are going under general anesthesia.  If you are in a good state of health and have no significant past or current medical problems, most tests are unnecessary.  There is plenty of data in the anesthesia and general surgery literature that supports the fact that too many tests are ordered.  Again, this is very dependent on your medical history.  If you trust your surgeon, you should feel comfortable with his/her decision.  If you have any questions, talk to him/her.  Good luck with your upcoming surgery!

Naveen Setty, MD
Dallas Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 78 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.