How High Are the Risks of Getting a Blood Clot After a Tummy Tuck?

Im absolutely terrified of getting my tummy tuck done in september, ive been to see my plastic surgeon but he didnt speak much. The most thing im scared of is being put to sleep ive had it done before and it really freaks me out will i be okay?

Doctor Answers 6

Blood clots following a tummy tuck

are certainly a known risk of that procedure but the real risks are quite low.  You should share your concerns with your doctor as interventions can be undertaken before surgery but some do theoretically increase risks for bleeding.  As for what you can do after surgery, early and frequent ambulation is important in preventing clots from developing after surgery.  Also pharmaceuticals can be employed as well.  Again, you should talk to your surgeon about your concerns so they can be addressed completely before you have your procedure.

Redding Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 33 reviews

Risks with tummy tuck.

Most patients do very well with tummy tuck surgery with minimal complications.  I place my patients on blood thinners post op to help prevent blood clots.  You need to find a surgeon that is willing to talk to you about your concerns and risks.  Donald R. Nunn MD  Atlanta Plastic Surgeon.

Donald Nunn, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 47 reviews

Risks of Blood Clots with Tummy Tuck Surgery are Low

Hi there-

For most patients, the risk of a blood clot after a tummy tuck would be below 1%.

There are some things that elevate your risks, and may suggest that additional measures should be taken to minimize your risks. 

Your surgeon will be best qualified to evaluate your risks and help you understand and minimize them.

Armando Soto, MD, FACS
Orlando Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 157 reviews

Blood clots after tummy tuck. / Coagulos de sangre despues de abdominoplastia

It is ok to be nervous before surgery.  The odds are most definitely on your side.  The risks of blood clots are very rare with several exceptions. The first is a personal or family history of bleeding or cloting disorders.  If you believe you fall in  this category discuss with your surgeon so they can make an appropriate plan.  The second is taking certain medications(please check with your plastic surgeon ALL the medication/pills/herbal remidies etc). Third, obesity increases the risk. Fourth, risk does increase slightly with length of surgical time.  So discuss what procedures your surgeon plans to do and the time period.  THE MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR IN MY EXPERIENCE IS LACK OF AMBULATION.  I make ALL of my patients whether it is a simple eye procedure or a massive body lift.  Walk the day of the procedure for 5-10 minutes EVERY hour while awake. NO EXCUSE, NO BS!   They increase to 10 minutes per hour the day after surgery.  The only exception is a paralzed patient.  There are several modalities that your surgeon should use in conjunction with the above to decrease your risks.


Good luck and thank you for the question.




Anire Okpaku MD 


Es normal ponerse nervioso antes de una cirugia. Los aspectos negativos vienen definitivamente de su lado. Los riesgos de coagulos de sangre son raros con algunas excepciones. La primera es si tiene historial de sangramiento personal o en la familia o disturbios de coagulacion. Si usted cre que se encaja en esta categoria converse con su cirujano y el podra hacer un plan apropiado. La secunda se debe a ciertos medicamentos (por favor hable con su cirujano plastico acerca de todos los medicamentos, pastillas, remedios naturales, etc). Tercero, la obesidad aumenta el riesgo. Cuarto, los riesgos son un poco mas alto en cirugias que duren mas tiempo. Asi que converse con cirujano sobre los tipos de procedimientos indicados y el tiempo de cirugia. El factor mas importante segun mi experiencia es la falta de asistencia ambulatorial (pos-quirugico). Yo hago con que todos mis pacientes, sea de un procedimiento sencillo en los ojos o un levantamiento de cuerpo masivo caminen el mismo dia de la cirugia por 5-10 minutos a cada una hora mientras esten despiertos. No acepto excusas! Al dia siguiente de cirugia se sube el tiempo a 10 minutos a cada una hora. La unica excepcion es un paciente paraplejico. Hay varias modalidades que su cirujano puede usar en conjunto con todo lo mencionado antes para disminuir los riesgos.


Suerte y gracias por la pregunta.



Anire Okpaku MD

Anire Okpaku, MD FACS
Miami Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 29 reviews

Blood clots and anesthesia

Dear terrified and freaked out lady,

  The liklyhood of blood clots is very low as long as you or you family do not  have a history of clotting abnormality.If you are that concered, have your clotting factors checked by your internist.  Abviously, after surgery make sure to drink lots of  water ( at least, 8 ounces every hour )  and ambulate frequently. That will help significantly to lower the chance of blood clot.  In regard to anesthesia, it is very safe as long as you have your surgery done in an accredited facility with experienced board certified anesthesiologist . Be sure also to select an experienced board certified plastic surgeon .

                         Best of luck,

                                                      Dr Widder


Shlomo Widder, MD
McLean Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 124 reviews

Blood clot risk and tummy tuck surgery

There have been several studies on this exact topic.  In fact, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons has a Venous Thromboembolism Task Force that has systematically reviewed this matter in detail.  Multiple studies have shown the risk of a blood clot from a tummy tuck or related procedure is well below 1%.   To help plastic surgeons select patients who may or may not need Lovenox (or some form of blood thinners to help prevent blood clots, there are published guidelines to aide in patient selection (known as the Caprini/Davison risk assessment model (RAM).    Ultimately, your plastic surgeon will determine the need for Lovenox based on 1) your health status and past medical history and risk factors and 2) length of your procedure(s).   Most PS utilize SCDs (massage boots) and early ambulation as the mainstay for their blood clot prophalaxis. Others also opt to add on Lovenox as well.

Please talk to your board certified plastic surgeon about your concerns.  I'm a bit concerned you feel your plastic surgeon "didn't speak much"   I would schedule a second visit and get all your concerns addressed.  It is important to establish a healthy doctor-patient relationship so your mind will be more at ease about your treatment plan.

Best of luck.

Dr. Basu
Houston, TX

C. Bob Basu, MD, FACS
Houston Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 209 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.