Leg Pain Post-Tummy Tuck and Liposuction

I had a Tummy Tuck with Liposuction 4 months ago. Two weeks later, I was in the I.C.U with a 32 inch blood clot and I had 6 surgical procedures to get it removed. Later, I developed leg pain, and my legs turn blue after standing or sitting without elevating my legs. What's going on, and how long will this continue? It has been 4 months now and I have such limitations, and no one can give me answers. HELP!

Doctor Answers 11

Leg Pain

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Dear Ozzy

i am sorry that you are having such problems. As with the other answers you need to see- a vascular surgeon and see an MD/naturopath to get you back in better shape and symptom free. Depending on where you live - Dr. Jeff Morrison in NYC is an excellent MD in dealing with complicated health problems and recovery.

With Warm Regards


Toronto Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 126 reviews

Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Post-phlebitic Syndrome After DVT

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I understand that this can be troublesome and annoying.

Clearly, it would be great if we could offer surgery with no risks. I am glad to see that you have made it through the most critical part of the blood clot. Now, onto your condition and trying to find the best solution for your current problem.

Unfortunately, Deep venous thrombosis is a condition which is yet to be fully understood and controlled.

In a certain percentage of patients and particularly in those who have a massive DVT, a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency and Post-phlebitic syndrom can devleop. It certainly sounds compatible with the symptorms you describe which is that it is worse when your leg is down.

Clearly you need to see a vascular surgeon.

In the meantime, you may find relief from wearing compression stockings. You may benefit from medical grade stockings which require a prescription and measurements. Depending on the level of your clot, it is likely that they should proceed from your toes to your thighs.

Other therapies are available and will be suggested by your vascular surgeon.

I wish you the best of luck.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Venous insufficiency

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Sounds like you have a sequelae of venous insufficiency following treatment for a deep vein thrombosis where the blood returning from the leg to the heart is impaired because of possible diminished capacity of veins. You should seek advice from your vacular surgeons to see if any remedy is possible.

Robin T.W. Yuan, MD
Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Leg pain after lipo and tummy tuck

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Sorry to hear about your tough recovery. The best person to answer your questions regarding your leg pain and color changes is a vascular surgeon. You may want to ask for a referral from your surgeon if you already have not seen a vascular surgeon for your leg clot surgeries.

Bahram Ghaderi, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon

Deep vein thrombosis is rare after tummy tuck but does occur.

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I agree with all the other surgeons who have offered advice. You have deep vein thrombosis and the convalescence is generally long.  The veins have to recanalize or alternative channels for blood return need to develop.  This will take time but you should get better.  A good vascular surgeon should be visited regularly to monitor your progress.

DVT after a tummy tuck

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From what you describe, it sounds as though you developed a Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. This can occur after any prolonged surgery including a tummy tuck. We utilize several methods for prevention including sequential compression devices on the lower extremities during surgery. In high risk patients (those with previous blood clots or a genetic predisposition), anti-coagulants may be used during and after surgery to prevent formation. Ambulation after surgery is very important and getting patients walking the same day helps tremendously.

The concerns with a DVT range from a pulmonary embolism (PE) which can be life threatening, to destruction of the one-way valves in the legs which can lead to venous stasis or insufficiency. If you are experiencing swelling and blueness of the legs with standing, I recommend seeing a vascular surgeon with experience in venous reconstruction or vein stripping. This may help the conditions with your legs. Also, compression stockings can help by providing external pressure to resist the hydrostatic pressure in the veins and help with blood return to the heart.

David Bogue, MD
Boca Raton Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 26 reviews

A vascular surgeon consult will help.

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Very sorry to hear about the blood clot and your tough recovery. You should present your concerns to your plastic surgeon who should recommend a vascular surgeon that can evaluate you and manage venous insufficiency. Best of luck with this difficult problem.

Sequelae of a DVT

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DVT is a potential risk of any procedure and I am sorry to hear that it happened to you. This is a medical emergency and it sounds at this point as if you have addressed the acute issue. You have received good advice regarding treatment from this point forward. In the future, you are at higher risk for another DVT if you were to need/ have surgery again (cosmetic or otherwise). There are some things you should consider if you were to have surgery in the future regarding your risk of another DVT.

  • The risk is higher soon after a DVT before the clot is matured
  • The risk is higher in smokers
  • The risk is higher in patients taking oral contraceptives
  • The risk is higher in patients with a personal or family history of hypercoagulable states (discuss this with your doctor)
  • Long procedures under general anesthesia are at higher risk for DVT's (full tummy tuck with liposuction under general anesthesia is notorious for this)
  • Use local anesthesia with light sedation if able (the muscle tone in the legs keeps the blood from pooling)
  • Travel after surgery can increase your risk of DVT
  • There are prophylactic measures at the time of surgery including sequential devices and blood thinners that can minimize your risk.

York Jay Yates, MD
Salt Lake City Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 189 reviews

Post-phlebitic syndrome needs vascular surgeon's attention

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Unfortunately you had a DVT. This is without a doubt an unfortunate event. This is one of the complications of any surgery that all surgeons try to avoid. Proper pre and post operative management is important to keep this risk to a minimum but unfortunately, it will never be zero.

You have developed a post-phlebic syndrome and you need to medical care of a vascular surgeon. Elevation, wraping, and support garments will help to a certain extent. More extensive medical testing will be needed in the future to determine the extent of the problem and will help quide future treatment plans.

Jeffrey Zwiren, MD
Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 20 reviews

Venous Insufficiency seems likely.

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I am sorry you have developed such an unusual and troubesome complication. Did you have an pain or even mild discomfort in your legs before your Tummy Tuck surgery say with exercise?

I agree with the others that referral to a vascular surgeon seems the most reasonable course of action.

Good luck to you,

John Di Saia MD

John P. Di Saia, MD
Orange Plastic Surgeon

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.