Would it be possible to get a tummy tuck if I take blood thinners?

I am 42 years old and in October of 2010 I had an aortic valve replacement and a mitral valve repair. Because of this I am on blood thinners because I have a mechanical aortic valve. I also am the mother of 6 and want to get some confidence back but the lower area of my stomach pretty much hangs even if I lose weight. And in 2012 against the odds of being able to carry a child safely I did to full term and my heart was just fine. So would a tummy tuck maybe be in the future for me?

Doctor Answers 9

Can I have an abdominoplasty while on blood thinners?

You may not be on blood thinners for at least a week before and a week after surgery. It may be possible for you to have an abdominoplasty if you stop blood thinners under the supervision of your cardiologist and under the proper conditions for the plastic surgeon. The cardiologist may have an alternative plan that would allow you to come off of your blood thinners  and have an urgent surgery, but that may still be an unacceptable situation for a plastic surgeon to do an elective surgery. 

If your two providers can agree on a plan, I advise you to have your procedure done in a community where these types of elective cases can be done in a hospital as opposed to an outpatient surgery center.  Not all communities have such a possibility as it is often cost prohibitive. 

Don't be surprised if your cardiologist says "no". Safety comes first and an abdominoplasty is elective cosmetic surgery. 

Palo Alto Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 13 reviews

Tummy tuck with blood thinners

You would absolutely have to come off the blood thinners prior to a tummy tuck.  I have had many cardiac stints stop their blood thinners prior to surgery, but only with the consent of your cardiologist.

Ronald J. Edelson, MD
San Diego Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 27 reviews

Blood thinner and tummy tuck

First and foremost always remember that a tummy tuck is elective surgery.  That being said you will need to speak with your cardiologist for clearance.  If he/she gives approval then there are blood thinners that can be taken before surgery and your cardiologist would know which one is best for you.  Best of luck to you

Milind K. Ambe, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy Tuck While Taking Blood Thinners

The most important step for you will be to discuss your desires in detail with your cardiologist. If your cardiologist feels that you have an acceptable risk for surgery, then the management of your blood thinners can be discussed. Sometimes, it's possible to switch from the longer acting blood thinners that you usually take to a shorter acting blood thinner, like Lovenox, which can be discontinued shortly before the surgery and resumed shortly after. This decision is up to your cardiologist, not your plastic surgeon, since we certainly don't want to put your life or health at significant risk for a cosmetic procedure. If you cardiologist is OK with such a plan, then the tummy tuck could generally be performed safely with little increased risk of excessive bleeding.

Andres Taleisnik, MD
Orange County Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 38 reviews

Tummy tuck on blood thinners

You need to have this discussion with a board certified plastic surgeon who will evaluate options along with the physician who prescribed the blood thinners. Depending on your condition, blood thinner usage may be curbed prior to surgery, but this may not always be possible. Be certain you are seeking care from board certified physicians. Good luck.

Richard Zienowicz, MD
Providence Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 63 reviews

TT and Blood thinners

Thank you for the question and I have operated on patients with blood thinners by working with their hematologist and switching them to Lovenox prior to surgery and then switching back after.  So see some experts in your area who are familiar with this and get the desired procedure performed.

Dr. Corbin 

Frederic H. Corbin, MD
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 61 reviews

Tummy tuck and blood thinners

Because of the mechanical heart valve, blood thinners cannot be stopped.  However, for patients who undergo surgical procedures, there are different alternatives like Lovenox or via a heparin "window."   Would discuss your case with your cardiologist to determine your blood thinner options.   Plastic surgery can be performed safely as long as the appropriate precautions are taken.  

Joseph Franklin, MD
Durham Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 8 reviews

High risk patients

My gut answer is no, it is not worth the risk.  Putting yourself at risk to carry a baby to term is totally different than putting yourself at risk for elective cosmetic surgery.  If you are really considering this you need to have a long conversation with your cardiologist.  Good luck, Jane 

Jane M. Rowley, MD
Lubbock Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 42 reviews

Tummy tuck after heart valve surgery?

Your question is a sound one and the answer must include consideration of all things. These include your use of a blood thinner-- you did not specify which one but if it is a prescription blood thinner, then be sure to include your cardiologist in the discussion with your plastic surgeon. Users of blood thinners may have to receive injections of a short acting blood thinner such as Lovenox during the first several days after operation so that the blood thinning is controlled while at the same time not increasing the risk of wound blood clots (hematoma).  To get a really detailed answer to your question, plan to consult a Board Certified plastic surgeon who can demonstrate plenty of experience with tummy tuck surgery involving patients on blood thinners and who is available AFTER your surgery when you have questions.

Tad Grenga, MD, FACS
Suffolk Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 15 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.