If I usually have normal blood pressure, but it is high on the day of surgery because I am nervous, is that a problem?

I am having arm lift surgery on Friday. I monitor my blood pressure at home on a daily basis, since my blood pressure is usually high at the doctors office due to anxiety. Every time I check it at home it is around 115/75. I know it is "white coat hypertension", but I am worried that it will be very elevated before my surgery because I am obviously going to be scared. If it is too high and I can't calm down, will they cancel the surgery?

Doctor Answers 6

Should not be a problem

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Its not uncommon to have elevated blood pressure around anxiety inducing situations. Mild hypertension should not effect your surgical day. Anesthesia is well prepared for these situations. Good Luck!

Pre-operatived Hypertension

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It's not unusual for patients to have white coat hypertension in the immediate pre-operative period. Once patients are allowed to relax and settle down in the pre-operative holding area, blood pressure often returns to normal levels. This can be facilitated by a calm surgeon who reassures his patients. In other cases, pre-operative sedation may be helpful as well.

If you're concerned about pre-operative anxiety and elevated blood pressure, it's important to discuss this issue with your surgeon. Your surgeon can, hopefully, reassure you and alleviate your anxiety.

White Coat Hypertension is common on the day of surgery

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Most people are understandably nervous on their "big day" and some increase in blood pressure is to be expected. If you're very nervous, let your doctor know so he or she can spend some extra time with you and help calm your anxiety before surgery. A good time to engage in conversation is when your doctor is taking photos or marking your skin. I always spend an extra few minutes talking with patients before surgery, and it helps makes the whole experience much better. Your anesthesia providers can give medication to regulate your blood pressure during surgery, but on rare occasions, it may be very high and surgery may need to be postponed.

Keith S. Berman, MD
Miami Plastic Surgeon

White coat syndrome

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it is not unusual to have some anxiety before surgery. and this will elevate your pressure. as long as there are no other medical reasons for this, it will be fine to do the surgery. you may want to ask the anesthesia person for some relaxing meds (before the surgery) to calm your nerves. this can be given in your IV, after you have talked to your surgeon (the day of surgery).

If I usually have normal blood pressure, but it is high on the day of surgery because I am nervous, is that a problem?

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It sounds like your blood pressure is generally well controlled. Now, it is time to control your anxiety (sometimes easier said than done);  with anxiety control, your blood pressure should be controlled at the facility as well. Use every relaxation technique that you can think of (try music, medication, positive thoughts,  affirmations…). Best wishes for smooth surgery and an outcome that you will be very pleased with.

High Blood pressure

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Your health is the most important issue especially with cosmetic procedures. It is customary to complete a full health history and phsyical with every patient, in addition I request blood work and EKG for all my patients. If you have an history of hyper tension and are on medication  you will provide that information and your primary  doctor for consultation if needed. Everyone can have " white coat " syndrome and  I take repeated readings to ensure that you are a great candidate for cosmetic surgery.

John W. Pinnella, MD
Fort Lauderdale Plastic Surgeon
4.4 out of 5 stars 40 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.